Varsity Shield fixtures will take place on Friday evenings with one fixture broadcast per round as the tournament heads into its tenth season.
The Varsity Shield has proven to be one of South Africa’s rugby treasures, producing four Springboks, namely Trevor Nyakane, Curwin Bosch, S’bu Nkosi and Herschel Jantjies. In its tenth year, the tournament will get a weekly 7pm fixture on SuperSport.
Varsity Cup Manager, Xhanti-Lomzi Nesi believes the innovation will be massive for South African rugby development, as well as the popularity of Varsity Shield fixtures.
The Varsity Shield getting a weekly fixture on SuperSport will be hugely beneficial for community and university rugby in the KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, as well as driving interest in the tournament in these areas. The Varsity Shield will now own Friday nights and will build on the momentum Varsity Shield has been creating during its 10 years of existence.;
‘Varsity Shield is our biggest growth market as the seven Varsity Shield universities collectively represent around 215 000 students – a third of the entire public university student population,’ explained Nesi, ‘We have heard the pleas of the fans and decided to act upon it and televise one Varsity Shield fixture per week.’
Rugby World Cup winner Jantjies paid tribute the tournament for giving him a platform to build on.
‘The Varsity Shield grants young players, who didn’t make it straight out of school into a provincial or professional setup, the opportunity to showcase their talent and to also further their studies in aid for life after rugby.
‘Varsity Shield and my former coach Chester Williams definitely gave my career a kick-start.’
In 2019, the inaugural Eastern Cape Double-Derby took the BCM Stadium in East London by storm, and 2020 will be no different. On 21 February, Madibaz Rugby Stadium will host two Eastern Cape derbies with UFH taking on Rhodes and Madibaz hosting their old rival WSU.
Varsity Shield teams will have the chance to be promoted in 2020 with it being a promotion/relegation year. The team who top of the Varsity Shield log, over the combined log of 2019 and 2020, will automatically go up to the Varsity Cup for 2021. The team at the bottom of the Varsity Cup log, over the combined log of 2019 and 2020, will automatically go down to the Varsity Shield for 2021.
Photo: Michael Sheehan/Varsity Sports