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The Heat is On as the FNB Varsity Cup Women's Tournament Returns for Second Season

As the excitement of the FNB Varsity Cup and FNB Varsity Shield tournament reaches fever pitch ahead of the playoff stages, rugby enthusiasts are gearing up for another thrilling spectacle with the return of the FNB Varsity Cup Women’s tournament. Scheduled to kick off on Friday 22 March, the eagerly anticipated event promises to be even more electrifying than the inaugural season.

As one of the fastest-growing team sports globally, the Varsity Cup Women's competition continues to ignite the passion for women's rugby at university level in South Africa. This season again promises to be one filled with thrilling action and unforgettable moments.

In a historic moment last year, FNB Maties delivered a masterclass performance, dominating to claim a resounding 63-9 victory over FNB UJ in Cape Town. This emphatic win saw them crowned as the first champions of the women's division, setting the bar high for the upcoming season. The team from Stellenbosch left no doubt about their supremacy, showcasing their skill and determination on the field.

Maties head coach Johann Zeier says nobody knew what to expect from the competition last year, but it was great for the development of the game. According to Zeier the introduction of the Varsity Cup for women has led to an increase in women wanting to play rugby.

“More clubs are starting up in the Western Cape, so I think the Varsity Cup provides a very good platform because it means there is another opportunity for players to work towards after school. It’s great for building the game and giving it a bit more airtime and recognition, which is good.

“We had ladies last year who were invited to Springbok camps from our squad. Bianca (Augustyn) that played for us last year and recently went on to represent South Africa in the Vancouver Sevens in Canada.

“It's definitely a good platform for players to put their hand up for high honours. Locally we’ve definitely seen a bit of change and hopefully that grows as the Varsity Cup for the women continues.”

Building on the success of the debut season, the Women's tournament has expanded to include six teams. Joining the ranks alongside Maties are newcomers FNB UWC. With the inclusion of FNB UP-Tuks, FNB UJ, FNB UKZN, and FNB UFH, fans can expect fierce competition and thrilling matchups throughout the tournament.

The format of the tournament will see teams competing in a pool format. The opening match between the defending champions and UKZN will take place at 2pm on Friday 22 March at the Howard College Stadium in Durban.

Fans should mark their calendars for Friday 26 April for the highly anticipated final. For a complete list of fixtures and updates, visit here.

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