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Prince Nkabinde talks about the “seamless transition” between Varsity Cup and Currie Cup

As someone who has had his fair share of professional rugby, receiving a call-up from the Griquas to feature in the 2022 Currie Cup, FNB UJ’s Prince Nkabinde says FNB Varsity Cup has prepared him for playing in the higher leagues.  


“The Varsity Cup is quite an unbelievable platform for players to express themselves. It’s a short tournament, it’s semi-pro. It prepares you and is not that far from Currie Cup level.” 


When Nkabinde’s contract with Griquas came to an end, UJ coach Johnathan Mokenua had the foresight that his return to the Orange Army would be a great opportunity.  


“He gave me a call. I didn’t know what I was going to do afterwards, whether I was going to the Varsity Cup, but he gave me an opportunity. I didn’t have two minds about it, I just told him straight that ‘Ja, I’m keen on coming back’,” says Nkabinde. 


Having a coach of the calibre of Mokenua, who has played professionally himself, has been one of the factors that influenced him, says Nkabinde.   


“He played sevens professionally, has a lot of caps and coached Pukke (Eagles) in 2016 to win the Varsity Cup. I’ve learned a lot from him.”   


The winger says coming back to the Varsity Cup after his stint in the Currie Cup has been a seamless transition.   


“It was just a year of difference where I left UJ in 2021 and came back in 2023. Rugby stays rugby, it’s just a matter of differentiating if it’s semi-pro or professional. It was easy for me to adapt and coming back was just second nature for me.”  


by Karabo Peter  

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