With the 2024 edition of the FNB Varsity Shield kicking off on 22 February it's only fitting that we set the stage by looking back at how last year's epic tournament played out where FNB UWC went undefeated to lift the trophy and secure promotion back into the Varsity Cup competition.
For the first time in the tournaments history 8 teams competed for top honours with UFH starting the campaign as the defending champions. UWC and Madibaz were both relegated the previous year so the heat was on right at the start with fans eager to see which team would top the log and gain automatic promotion.
The early rounds saw CPUT, Madibaz and UWC dominate while the title holders UFH struggled to gain momentum and repeat the form they showed in 2023. An epic showdown at the end of the group stages between first and second on the log turned into a promotion decider where UWC took the honours by beating Madibaz 45-31.
In the semi-finals UWC continued their unbeated title run by scalping defending champs UFH in front of a packed out home crowd while CPUT put in an epic performance against Madibaz to set up an all Cape final where UWC claimed their third FNB Varsity Shield title after a closely contested 24-18 victory to be crowned the 2023 champions.
Having finished second on the log Madibaz were still in with a shot at promotion in a playoff game against CUT who finished 7th in the Cup competition. It was not to be for the Gqeberha side who were emphatically beaten by the Ixias in Bloem.
The season was in for another dramatic end as bottom of the log Rhodes university faced-off against Varsity College in the other promotion relegation game. A kick in the dying minutes to win it saw Varsity College promoted to the FNB Varsity Shield for the first time in their history.
FNB Players of the Tournament 2023:
Suzuki Rookie of the Year:
For all the 2023 season highlights click HERE.
For the 2024 fixtures click HERE.