What you need to know about the FNB Varsity Shield newcomers ahead of their tournament debut on Monday.
- The Durban University of Technology was formed in 2002 following the merger of Technikon Natal and ML Sultan Technikon, and was initially known as the Durban Institute of Technology. It has five campuses in Durban and two in Pietermaritzburg.
- FNB DUT were nominated to join the FNB Varsity Shield by University Sports South Africa (USSA) based on their performances in 2018 and 2019.
- FNB DUT will make their FNB Varsity Shield debut against FNB WSU in the first match of the tournament at Loftus Versfeld on 12 April (15:00, live on SuperSport channel 211).
- FNB DUT’s nickname is the ‘Rhinos’. At the time it was chosen, there was a big emphasis on rhino poaching and endangerment, while rugby sometimes felt like an endangered species in the university setup! The rhino features prominently in the design of their first FNB Varsity Shield jersey.
- Matthew Russell is FNB DUT’s director of rugby. In 2016, he was approached by a group of students to come and revive a dying sport at DUT. “My team met with management and we signed on under FAN to take care of rugby,” Russell explains. “FAN is a universal term for everyone to be a FAN of their own project – not everyone supports rugby but can support their own passion. For the initial USSA tournament in 2016, we played under College Rovers. In 2016, we won our USSA division and got promoted; this with only one month of coaching. In 2017, after a meeting with the collective, I was asked to approach the KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union and let us play under our own name. Thus, DUT Rhinos was born.”
- FNB DUT will be captained by tighthead prop Mpumelelo ‘Uya’ Hlefane. “He has the ability to motivate the boys and communicates well with management,” says Russell. “He has also shown great perseverance, having been on the back foot in terms of funding before returning to the team.” Hlefane predicts “a very exciting tournament, with all the teams playing to the best of their ability.”