With the 2023 FNB Varsity Cup getting underway on Monday 20 February we spoke to some of the teams and found out which players we should be keeping an eye on in this year’s competition. Here's our selection for palyers to watch.
FNB Maties: Waqar Solaan
The all-most 24-year-old is a skilful and fleet-footed inside centre who creates space for his teammates on the outside while also being solid on defence and dominating in contact.
Solaan went to school in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) and thereafter played for Eastern Province at the U18 Craven Week. He subsequently signed for Western Province and represented the province at U19 and U21 levels.
School: Greys Boys High School
Born: 22 February 1999
FNB UP-Tuks: Kyle Cyster
After scoring a hat-trick for Madibaz against CUT last year and helping them to their first Varsity Cup victory in three years, Cyster has made the move north to join the reigning champions for the 2023 tournament.
The utility back represented Eastern Province at U20 and U21 levels and has credited his parents for his stellar performances on the field. This is remarkable for a youngster who only started playing rugby in Grade 8.
School: Hottentots-Holland High
Born: 1 August 1999
FNB UFS Shimlas: William Moffat
When prompted for Shimlas players to watch in the 2023 campaign, coach André Tredoux didn’t want to single out individuals, but did make mention of William Moffat.
The burly hooker was a standout in his team’s eight-try victory over CUT during last year’s Varsity Cup, ending a four-year losing streak against their Bloemfontein rivals. He represented Free State at U20 and U21 levels.
School: Framesby High
Born: 9 September 2000
FNB CUT Ixias: Ulrich Stander
Stander’s wealth of experience is part of the package and something CUT will properly utilise in what will probably be the last Varsity Cup tournament for the former U18 Craven Week and Free State U20 and U21 player.
This is the word from coach Melusi Mtethwa.
“I am excited to see him expressing himself on the field while he also understands the stage that we will be playing on. He looked good when we played some friendly games, so I'm hopeful that he is going to have a massive one."
School: Welkom Gimnasium
Born: 14 May 1999
FNB UCT Ikeys: Bryan le Roux
The youngster’s CV makes for impressive reading - U16 Grant Khomo Week, U18 Craven Week, SA Schools and Western Province U20 and U21.
Le Roux has however been hampered by injuries, something UCT coach Tom Dawson-Squibb hopes is now behind the 21-year-old prop.
“I'm hoping and praying that he gets to show the country what he can do this year. He's a special guy with, I believe, a special story ahead of him."