Four Eastern Cape-based Varsity Shield sides will descend upon the Buffalo City for a celebration of rugby history on 21 February.
Rhodes will take on Alice-based University of Fort Hare, before 2018’s Varsity Shield runner-ups Walter Sisulu University play the recently relegated Madibaz.
Varsity Cup manager Xhanti-Lomzi Nesi explained that the day is dedicated to the incredible rugby history of the Eastern Cape.
‘The Eastern Cape is one of the most rugby rich provinces in South Africa. It has a long history of rugby achievements in both the men’s and women’s format of the game, from schoolboy rugby through to the national team. This Double-Header Derby is a celebration of the best of that treasured history.
‘It will be an opportunity to bring together young and old rugby lovers of the Eastern Cape and showcase the talent within the local universities.’
Nesi believes it should be an exhilarating day of rugby with all four teams bringing their flavour to this momentous event.
‘All four universities have a distinct character to their style of play and approach to the game. This landmark occasion will be a great showcase of the vast styles of play, people and spirit of the Eastern Cape. We anticipate a full audience and in-stadium and great viewership numbers for this unique occasion. It will be great display of the support that Eastern Cape rugby gets and the strong passion in the region for the game of rugby.’
NMU Rugby Club President and former Springbok Thando Manana believes the Double Derby is the perfect way to celebrate the rich rugby history of the region.
‘The Eastern Cape derby between these four universities is a huge rugby bonanza that seeks to showcase the very much live rugby talent that the Eastern Cape continues to produce. The game of rugby is liked and enjoyed by many in the region and thus the importance of these derbies.
‘The Eastern Cape is not only known for being the cradle of black rugby but also the region that has over the years produced great Springboks. So, to the four universities good luck on the day and let’s make rugby the big winner on the day.’
Rhodes will play UFH at 16:45, with WSU taking on NMU at 19:00. Both games will be televised on SuperSport.
Photo: Anthony Churchyard/Varsity Cup