The FNB Varsity Cup is known for changing the lives of the players who come through the competition. However, lives have been changed off the field too.
Since 2010, Varsity Cup has been proudly associated with worthwhile causes through its Pink Shorts campaign. The then “Man of the Match” (now FNB Player That Rocks) wore Pink Shorts in his next match, all in the name of cancer awareness and to help raise funds in the continued fight against the disease.
In 2011, the message sent by wearing pink was to “keep the aggro on the field” and deter violence against women. Proceeds went towards the Varsity Cup Trust, which then donated to various women’s shelters nominated by each team.
In 2018, the theme changed once again. This time it was to rally the country behind the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) and Western Province Blood Transfusion Service (WPBTS).
It provided a platform for young South African sportsmen to be heroes, and also rally their peers behind blood donation and the importance thereof.
In 2019, FNB Varsity Cup teamed up with the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa (PCMFSA) and highlighted the importance of water safety to South Africans.
In 2020, FNB Varsity Cup and FNB Varsity Shield raised awareness of mental health, destigmatised mental health issues and encouraged the treatment of mental illness with the understanding that many students are suffering in silence. The campaign let them know that it’s OK to not be OK, and that there are places where it’s safe to #SpeakUp.
Through the entire Pink Shorts campaign, Miss Varsity Cup and Miss Varsity Shield played an enormous role in being the campaign ambassador at their respective universities.
Former Miss Varsity Cup UFS, Rolene Strauss, went on to win Miss South Africa and Miss World in 2014; Demi-Leigh Tebow (née Nel-Peters) was crowned Miss Varsity Cup NWU and won Miss South Africa and Miss Universe in 2017; and Sasha-Lee Laurel Olivier, former Miss Varsity Cup UJ, proudly represented South Africa in 2019.
The Pink Shorts campaign will be the focus of the third Changing Lives banner at Tuks Stadium, which TV viewers will see for the first time on Monday, 26 April.
The first banner, which was displayed during the first bubble from 4-10 April, featured 20 of the 48 FNB Varsity Cup players who have gone on to represent the Springboks.
The second, which was displayed from 12-20 April during the first four rounds of the FNB Varsity Shield, featured FNB Varsity Cup and Shield success stories, including three Springboks, three Blitzboks and five trophy-lifting coaches.