Cape Town - One of the exciting announcements to emerge from the launch of the 2016 season of the Varsity Cup on Monday was that in 2017 three universities will join the existing 13 universities currently taking part in Varsity Rugby.
“When Varsity Cup began in 2008, eight universities were competing,” said Varsity Cup chairperson, Jurie Roux.
“Then in 2011 we added the Varsity Shield and it grew by five. Next year there
will be 16 universities taking part in Varsity Rugby. The competition is
becoming more and more inclusive and to have increased the university
participation by 100% in under 10 years is phenomenal.”
The Varsity Cup and Varsity Shield competitions are managed by a board of members who will hold a meeting in May 2016 to decide upon a qualification process, whereafter the three additional universities will be announced.
The three new teams will join the Varsity Shield, while one Varsity Shield team will be promoted to the Varsity Cup, joining the eight existing teams.
“We are extremely excited about this next chapter of Varsity Rugby,” said Varsity Cup CEO Duitser Bosman.
“The inclusion of nine teams in Varsity Cup
will allow each team to play four home and four away matches. In addition to
that, each team can look forward to one bye week in the competition - a luxury
they weren’t afforded in the past.”
Previously the teams’ seven matches were split between four home matches and three away, or three home matches and four away - alternating from season to season.
The inclusion of seven Varsity Shield teams in 2017 will allow each team to play six matches.
Promotion and relegation matches will be played again in 2018 for the 2019
The 2016 Varsity Rugby season kicks off on February 1, 2016 with the first round of Varsity Shield matches taking place.