The Varsity Cup will again be the game for students and played by students.
The focus rightly will be on students, and teams can’t load their match squads with semi-professional or professional players.
The 2013 Varsity Cup season was launched on Monday and it was confirmed that 18 of the 23 players in the match-day squad must be students, and they must have passed 30% of their courses in 2012.
The tournament starts on 4 February.
Defending Varsity Cup champions, Tuks, get their title defence off to a tricky start when they travel to Potchefstroom to take on Pukke, while the other TV game of the first round will see Maties entertaining UJ.
The much talked about points-scoring system of two points for a penalty and a drop-goal and three points for a conversion, which was first trialled last year, will continue in 2013.
Importantly, having earned the right to promotion, Varsity Cup new boys Wits have the comfort of knowing there is no relegation at the end of this season.
TUT will be spending 2013 and 2014 in the Varsity Shield after finishing 2012 as the bottom-placed team in the Varsity Cup, while Wits, the 2012 Varsity Shield champions (thus earning automatic promotion), have two full seasons of Varsity Cup rugby ahead of them – no matter what.
And the other announcement worth noting is the continued focus on academics. All Varsity Cup and Shield match-day squads have to boast an active student count of 78% (at least 18 out of the 23 players in the match-day squads), and these students’ results and attendances will be strictly monitored throughout the year.
Academic results from 2012 will also matter, as full-time students must have passed at least 30% of last year’s subjects to be allowed to play this year (as a full-time student). Also, a player who has not passed Grade 12 cannot play in any Varsity Rugby tournaments – even as a non-student.
The Young Guns and Koshuisrugby Championships tournaments continue to be students-only affairs, giving the eight Cup teams an opportunity to build more ‘student depth’ for years to come.
2013 VARSITY CUP FIXTURES
Monday, 4 February
Maties vs UJ, Danie Craven Stadium, 4:45pm (TV)
NWU-Pukke vs UP-Tuks, Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds, 7pm (TV)
UCT vs NMMU, UCT Rugby Fields, 7pm
Wits vs Shimlas, Wits Rugby Stadium, 7pm
Monday, 11 February
UP-Tuks vs UCT, Tuks Rugby Stadium, 4:45pm (TV)
NMMU vs Wits, NMMU Stadium, 7pm (TV)
UJ vs NWU-Pukke, UJ Stadium, 7pm
Shimlas vs Maties, Shimla Park, 7pm
Monday, 18 February
Shimlas vs UP-Tuks, Shimla Park, 4:45pm, (TV)
Maties vs NMMU, Danie Craven Stadium, 7pm (TV)
Wits vs NWU-Pukke, Wits Rugby Stadium, 7pm
UCT vs UJ, UCT Rugby Fields, 7pm
Monday, 25 February
Wits vs UJ, Wits Rugby Stadium, 4:45pm (TV)
UP-Tuks vs Maties, Tuks Rugby Stadium, 7pm (TV)
NWU-Pukke vs UCT, Fanie du Toit Sports Ground, 7pm
NMMU vs Shimlas, NMMU Stadium – 7pm
Monday, 4 March
UCT vs Maties, UCT Rugby Fields, 4:45pm (TV)
Shimlas vs NWU-Pukke, Shimla Park, 7pm (TV)
UP-Tuks vs Wits, Tuks Rugby Stadium, 7pm
NMMU vs UJ, NMMU Stadium, 7pm
Monday, 11 March
NWU-Pukke vs NMMU, Fanie du Toit Sports Ground, 4:45pm (TV)
UJ vs UP-Tuks, UJ Stadium, 7pm (TV)
Shimlas vs UCT, Xerox Shimla Park, 7pm
Wits vs Maties, Wits Rugby Stadium, 7pm
Monday, 18 March
UJ vs Shimlas, UJ Stadium, 4:45pm (TV)
Maties vs NWU-Pukke, Danie Craven Stadium, 7pm (TV)
NMMU vs UP-Tuks, NMMU Stadium, 7pm
UCT vs Wits, UCT Rugby Fields, 7pm
Monday, 25 March
Semi-final 1, 4:30pm (TV)
Semi-final 2, 7pm (TV)
Monday, 8 April