Gear up for a Rocking Rugby Season

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Entertainment for everyone at FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International

The 2017 FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International kicks off on 30 January. The tenth edition of this prestigious university rugby tournament, has grown from eight universities in 2008 to 16 universities 2017.


In 2017 we welcome three new universities to the FNB Varsity Shield presented by Steinhoff International. The addition of Cape Peninsula University of Technology (FNB CPUT), Rhodes University (FNB Rhodes), and Walter Sisulu University (FNB WSU) sees Varsity Shield grow from five teams to seven, while 2016 Varsity Shield winners, FNB Wits, re-join Varsity Cup after a few seasons of absence, growing Varsity Cup from eight to nine.


“There is definitely excitement from the three new universities,” said Xhanti-Lomzi Nesi, Varsity Cup Manager. “There is a long-standing rivalry between the University of Fort Hare and Walter Sisulu University, both rugby-mad universities, and we can’t wait to see what they will deliver this season.”


The Western Cape now boasts with four teams in the tournament; two teams in Varsity Cup (FNB Maties and FNB UCT), and two teams in Varsity Shield (FNB UWC and FNB CPUT), while the Eastern Cape sports one team in Varsity Cup (FNB Madibaz) and three in Varsity Shield (FNB UFH, FNB WSU and FNB Rhodes).


This year Varsity Cup also welcomes a brand new sponsor, Steers, to the competition, as well as a new media partner in 5FM. Both brands have a vested interest in the South African youth market and will help Varsity Cup amplify the youth sport and cultural development activities.


Unique Rules for 2017

Varsity Cup has always been at the forefront of introducing and experimenting with new rules and this year updates to the rules include:


Bonus Point Try

The bonus point try has been reviewed, and the nine-point try has been disregarded. This year only a seven-point try and a five-point try will apply. The seven-point try will be awarded to the team who scores a try originating from their own half, while the five-point try will be awarded if the try originates in the opposition’s s to half. Conversions will remain at two points (this applies to Varsity Cup competition only and not Varsity Shield, Koshuis Rugby and Young Guns).


Red Card Rule

The red card rule is a new rule that will be implemented in the 2017 season. If a red card is given to a player, that player will leave the field immediately, and his team will play with 14-men for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes any other player in the final match day squad may return to the field, apart from the player who received the red card. This rule will only apply to Varsity Cup.


Other rules exclusive to Varsity Cup include the white card rule, strategy breaks, free catch rule, 23-player match day squads, defending nine offside rule, mauling, and scrumming laws. All players are required to abide by the current Regulations of World Rugby and the Constitution and Regulations of the South African Rugby Union (SARU), which include Bok Smart Regulations, as well as that of the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International.



Varsity Cup is known for its unique approach to match day entertainment, and it’s through its philosophy of sportainment that fans flock to the various stadiums to back their boytjies. Fans will be entertained by the official Varsity Cup mascot, Prof, as well as university mascots. These mascots will also form part of FNB’s exciting marketing campaign.


Other match day activations to look out for are:


  • Steers Build-A-Wacky Wednesday

Steers will run a Wacky Wednesday competition at all Varsity Cup matches on Monday nights. At each match, fans who are dressed identically “wacky” will have a chance to be selected to take part in the Steers Build-A-Wacky Wednesday competition during the first strategy break. These fans will have 45 seconds to build a burger in a race against the clock, using the giant foam burger elements. Winners will walk away with Steers vouchers valid for one month.


  • Hertz Man Crush Monday (#HertzMCM)

The Miss Varsity Cup contestants of each university will select their #HertzMCM from their university team’s match day 23. The criteria to be selected as a #HertzMCM include friendliness, good looks, and good with the anthem kids, as well as helpful within the community, and academically strong. The selected #HertzMCM will have the opportunity to flaunt it for a week behind the wheel of a Hertz vehicle.


  • FNB and Steinhoff International Fans That Rock

Allow your creativity to take over and dress up in your university’s colours by wearing crazy head gear, using body paint, creating banners, and you could be randomly selected to take part in the half-time “Fans That Rock” competition. The aim of the game is to try and kick a ball into a target area created on the field. The winner will receive R2 500. At live TV games, the winner will also be interviewed on SuperSport. All five fans will receive a Fans That Rock vest and a jumbo yellow ball.



Varsity Cup has always been committed in the fight against women and child abuse in South Africa, and 2017 is no different. Varsity Cup uses its platform to raise awareness around this very important cause through many active campaigns throughout the season.


  • Keep the Aggro on the Field campaign

Each of the Varsity Cup and Varsity Shield teams have selected a local shelter or organisation that counsels and supports abused women and children. Varsity Cup will give each university the right to commit support and donate funds to the amount of R25 000.


  • Pink Shorts

The FNB Player That Rocks (Man of the Match) will receive a pair of personalised Pink Shorts in which he will play during the following week’s match. For the opening matches, the captains will wear Pink Shorts.


  • Pink Roses

As part of the “Keep the Aggro on the Field” campaign, the FNB Player That Rocks will be given the opportunity to deliver fifty pink roses to a person of their choice the Wednesday after the match.


Miss Varsity Cup and Miss Varsity Shield

Beauty can indeed mix with the ruggedness of rugby, something that has been proven through the Miss Varsity Cup and Miss Varsity Shield campaign. Each university selects their own winner, and all winners will be taken to the final of the Varsity Cup and Varsity Shield competitions respectively, where the official Miss Varsity Cup 2017 will be announced. The winner will be decided by public vote and judges’ decision. Each finalist will also be involved with the “Keep the Aggro on the Field” campaign by visiting the shelters chosen by each university throughout her reign.

For the tenth year of Varsity Cup, a special feature called “Road to #VarsityCup10” will be broadcast on SuperSport 1 from Wednesday, 25 January 2017 at 18h00. Relive the historical moments that makes the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International the greatest intervarsity rugby tournament in South Africa.



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