With the 2023 FNB Varsity Cup and FNB Varsity Shield nearing the semi-finals, it is time for the ladies to join the action in the inaugural FNB Varsity Cup Women.
Said FNB Varsity Cup founder Francois Pienaar at the start of this year’s competition “As one of the fastest growing team sports around the world, we are proud to ignite women’s rugby at university level in South Africa.”
The five teams taking part this year are FNB Maties, FNB UP-Tuks, FNB UJ, FNB UKZN and FNB UFH.
Maties and UKZN face off in a knockout match in Stellenbosch on Monday 20 March to determine who will go through to take on UFH in the semi-final on Thursday 6 April. UP-Tuks and UJ are contesting the other semi-final in Pretoria on Monday 3 April. The final is set for Thursday 13 April.
Maties coach Johann Zeier says his team are very excited to play in the first-ever Varsity Cup for women.
“We've done everything we can to be as prepared as possible. All we want for the ladies is to enjoy the occasion and represent themselves, their families and Stellenbosch University in the best way possible.
“I think the competition will be a valuable contribution to women's rugby in South Africa. I am looking forward to seeing it grow into a competition with more teams and games, as well as a Women's Shield competition eventually.”
UJ coach Bongiwe Nhleko says they will make their participation in the competition count.
“I am very much excited about the tournament, it is a great platform and exposure for women in Varsity rugby. As UJ, we are honoured to be involved in the history of the first-ever Varsity Cup for women. We pray we’ll make it count.”
UFH coach Ntyatyambo Mkhafu says they appreciate the opportunity as it will be a fantastic experience and exposure for women's rugby.
“It will also give the young girls hope that even if they do not make the provincial team, they can still study and play rugby, and who knows, maybe they will be noticed by national coaches and be chosen. Also, because it will be visible to everyone, we may see more women join rugby in the coming years. We hope that there will be more teams joining next year.”