With the 2020 Vodacom Super Rugby season getting under way, South Africa’s four franchises have named squads heavily laden with Varsity Cup and Shield alumni.
As it happens, among the 23 ‘graduates’ new Stormers coach John Dobson – who coached UCT from 2008-10 – has named, seven are still eligible to play Varsity Cup in 2020.
They are Maties captain Ben-Jason Dixon as well as loosehead prop Leon Lyons, Dan Jooste, Schalk Erasmus (both hookers) and tighthead prop Sazi Sandi. Meanwhile, Nama Xaba (flank) and David Meihuizen (lock) could feature for UCT this term.
The Maties players follow in the footsteps of Ernst van Rhyn and Edwill van der Merwe, who helped Maties to their second straight title in 2019 but are now fully focused on the Stormers.
While the Sharks haven’t named any players registered to play at UKZN in the Varsity Shield, they do have two recent graduates among their 20 varsity rugby alumni.
Flyhalf Jordan Chait (23) and lock Jordan Sesink-Clee (22) have traded Stellenbosch for the Durban-based franchise.
The Lions have 24 former Varsity Cup and Shield stars in their squad – 25 if you include new flyhalf James Mollentze, who spent so much time with the Junior Springboks last year that he didn’t get to play for Shimlas. His national teammate, Keagan Glade, did play the odd game for Wits and the tighthead remains among the Witsies’ ranks for this year’s tournament.
Nowhere is the progression of Varsity Cup and Shield players more evident than at the Vodacom Bulls. As much as 73% of their squad, 30 of 41, have trodden on varsity fields up and down the country. Among them are Louis van der Westhuizen, last year’s NWU captain who went to the Rugby World Cup with Namibia, as well as UP-Tuks 2019 duo Johan Grobbelaar (hooker) and Ruan Nortje.
SOUTH AFRICAN SUPER RUGBY SQUADS
Bulls: Tim Agaba, Corniel Els, Andries Ferreira, Warrick Gelant, Lizo Gqoboka, Johan Grobbelaar, Ian Groenewald, Cornal Hendricks, Wiehahn Herbst, Marco Jansen van Vuren, Johnny Kotze, Richard Kriel, Juandré Kruger, Manie Libbok, Simphiwe Matanzima, Franco Naude, Abongile Nonkontwana, Ruan Nortjé, Trevor Nyakane, Burger Odendaal (c), Embrose Papier, Ryno Pieterse, Marnus Potgieter, Divan Rossouw, Jeandré Rudolph, Dylan Sage, Chris Smith, Rosko Specman, Gerhard Steenekamp, Ruan Steenkamp, Morné Steyn, Jade Stighling, Josh Strauss, Nafi Tuitavake, Muller Uys, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Louis van der Westhuizen, Marco van Staden, Ivan van Zyl, Jaco Visagie, Wian Vosloo.
Lions: Willem Alberts, Cyle Brink, Jan-Henning Campher, Andries Coetzee, Ross Cronje, Hacjiivah Dayimani, Jannie du Plessis, Tyrone Green, Rhyno Herbst, Francke Horn, Pieter Jansen, Marko Jansen van Rensburg, Elton Jantjies (c), Johannes Jonker, Dan Kriel, Gianni Lombard, Malcolm Marx, Len Massyn, Duncan Matthews, Nathan McBeth, James Mollentze, Reinhard Nothnagel, Asenathi Ntlabakanye, Marvin Orie, Stean Pienaar, Manuel Rass, Shaun Reynolds, Carlu Sadie, Marnus Schoeman, Ruben Schoeman, Wandisile Simelane, Sti Sithole, Courtnall Skosan, Dillon Smit, Roelof Smit, Dylan Smith, Tiaan Swanepoel, Vincent Tshituka, Jamba Ulengo, Morne van der Berg, Louritz van der Schyff, Wilhem van der Sluys, Frans van Wyk, Ruan Vermaak, Andre Warner.
Sharks: Thaakir Abrahams, Lukhanyo Am (c), Hyron Andrews, Curwin Bosch, Craig Burden, Phendulani ‘Phepsi’ Buthelezi, Jordan Chait, Henry ‘Boeta’ Chamberlain, Thomas du Toit, Andre Esterhuizen, Aphelele Fassi, Celimpilo Gumede, Murray Koster, Michael Kumbirai, Marius Louw, Mzamo Majola, Makazole Mapimpi, Fezokuhle Mbatha, Khutha Mchunu, John-Hubert Meyer, Lubabalo ‘Tera’ Mtembu, Lwazi Mvovo, Ox Nche, Sanele Nohamba, Sbu Nkosi, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Andisa Ntsila, Tyler Paul, JP Pietersen, Dylan Richardson, Le Roux Roets, Evan Roos, Louis Schreuder, Juan Schoeman, Jordan Sesink-Clee, Madosh Tambwe, JJ van der Mescht, Emile van Heerden, Ruben van Heerden, Kerron van Vuuren, Henco Venter, James Venter, Jeremy Ward, Grant Williams, Cameron Wright.
Stormers: Juarno Augustus, Kwenzo Blose, Jaco Coetzee, Paul de Wet, Ben-Jason Dixon, Dan du Plessis, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Johan du Toit, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Schalk Erasmus, Neethling Fouche, Michal Haznar, Lyle Hendricks, Herschel Jantjies, Dan Jooste, Steven Kitshoff, Siya Kolisi (c), David Kriel, Dillyn Leyds, Wilco Louw, Leon Lyons, Godlen Masimla, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, David Meihuizen, Salmaan Moerat, Matt Moore, Ruhan Nel, Scarra Ntubeni, Sergeal Petersen, Rikus Pretorius, Jamie Roberts, Sazi Sandi, JD Schickerling, Seabelo Senatla, Chad Solomon, Edwill van der Merwe, Ernst van Rhyn, Abner van Reenen, Chris van Zyl, Ali Vermaak, Cobus Wiese, Damian Willemse, Nama Xaba, Leolin Zas.
Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix