Varsity cup growing in popularity, says Pienaar

2010-03-27 13:12

THE baby that is the Varsity Cup rugby competition is still

crawling and there is ample scope for further improvement, says former World

Cup-winning captain Francois Pienaar, co-founder of the Varsity Cup.

The competition, now in its third season, has captured the

imagination throughout the country.

The 2010 Varsity Cup competition culminates in a dream final at

Stellenbosch’s Danie Craven Stadium at Coetzenburg on Monday night.

Since its first dramatic final at Coetzenburg in 2008 when the

Maties scored a try on the full-time hooter to beat UCT, the tournament has

continued to make headlines. And this is not only for its exciting rugby and

various cutting edge off-field innovations like a 23rd player, the pink shorts,

last season’s white cards and the singing of the anthem before matches.

The Varsity Cup has already shown its worth as a “feeder-system”

for the Currie Cup and Super 14 competition, and has already produced a

Springbok in Juan de Jongh, Sevens Springboks Kyle Brown, Chase Minnaar and

Robert Ebersohn and numerous provincial players.

But producing players aside, Pienaar feels the Varsity Cup is still

30 to 40% from where it can be.

 “That’s the challenge for us over the next few

years and something we are well aware of.”

The competition has taken the country by storm, as indicated by the

television audiences – and by the fact that the Danie Craven Stadium, where the

final will be played, was sold out three days before kick-off.

“Who can forget those scenes in 2008 when some fans had to climb

trees and walk up the mountains to catch a glimpse of that dramatic finale? I

have no doubt we will see similar scenes come this Monday,” predicted


Dagbreek (Stellenbosch) and Vishuis (Shimlas) will contest the

Steinhoff Koshuisrugby Championships final which will precede the Varsity Cup

final. Tiaan Jonker has been appointed referee for the Cup final.

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