In the second article of a new series, DYLAN JACK rewinds to the inaugural Varsity Cup final and finds out what happened to the players involved with each team.
The very first Varsity Cup final was a Cape derby contested between UCT and Maties at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellebosch. UCT – then coached by John Dobson – came into the match as favourites, having topped the table and losing just one game all season. Maties had finished second, trailing the Ikey Tigers by six points.
In a tightly-contested final UCT went ahead through tries from Marcello Sampson and Matthew Turner, but Maties stayed in the contest as wing Heno Stoffberg added two penalties, before Western Province flyhalf Ricardo Croy knocked over a drop goal to make it 10-9. There would be late heartbreak for UCT as Therlow Petersen dotted down after the full-time hooter to steal a famous win for Maties, who would go on to defend their crown over the next two seasons in 2009 and 2010.
15 Robert Hopwood
Hopwood would not continue his rugby career beyond UCT. After finishing his bachelor of business science degree, he would go on to be an auditor for PWC. He is currently the financial director of Peppadew International.
14 Marcello Sampson
After finishing at UCT and playing for the Western Province U21 team, Sampson would join the EP Kings and played for them in their first Vodacom Super Rugby season in 2013. He then joined the Pumas before moving back to the Western Cape, where he is playing for Province in the Provincial Rugby Challenge.
13 James Martin
Another who did not continue his sporting career beyond university, Martin finished his postgraduate degree in Financial Analysis at UCT. He is currently the African logistics manager and finance director designate for Salex.
12 Pieter Engelbrecht
Engelbrecht joined the Lions after university. He was also part of the Blitzboks set-up and played for the team in the 2010-11 Sevens Series, continuing until 2013. Engelbrecht moved to Australia and is currently a board member at the famous Randwick Rugby Club, which produced England coach Eddie Jones and former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika. He is also the manager of Coles Group Property in Sydney.
11 Matthew Turner
In 2008, Turner moved to England to join Premiership side Bristol. He qualified to play internationally for England and was selected for their sevens team, making his debut in the 2008 Sevens Series. He played in 34 Sevens World Series tournaments between 2009 and 2013, scoring 92 tries and earning a nomination for IRB Sevens Player of the Year in 2012. In August 2015, he was appointed as the head coach of the Sri Lanka national rugby sevens team, leading them to second overall in the Asia Nation 7s for the first time. He then moved to the USA and joined Major League Rugby side the Seattle Seawolves.
10 Matthew Rosslee
Rosslee picked up a handful of caps for Western Province after the final, before moving to Griquas, where he spent three years of his career. Somewhat surprisingly, the flyhalf then moved to Hong Kong in 2012 and earned his first cap for his adopted nation in 2017. He won his ninth Test cap in Hong Kong’s match against Spain in November 2019.
9 Danie van der Merwe
Van der Merwe played for Western Province in 2008, but then turned out for the Boland Cavaliers in 2009. Injuries appear to have affected his rugby career as there is no mention of him beyond 2009.
8 JJ Gagiano
The Ikey Tigers’ captain was another who would enjoy success on the international scene for an adopted nation. Gagiano played for UCT until 2010, when he signed for the EP Kings after the end of the Varsity Cup. In that same year, he made his Test debut for the USA Eagles against Uruguay and would go on to represent the USA at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand. In 2012 he played for the Lions, before joining Western Province in the same year and helping them win the Currie Cup. After retiring in 2012, he became assistant coach of the UCT first team together with his responsibilities with Gallic Oil. At the moment, he is the commercial manager of Vallis Group Limited.
7 Mzoi Simani
*Despite our investigation, Simani has fallen completely off the rugby radar. Reach out to us in the comments section if you know what he is up to now.
6 Luzuko Panya
The flank and graduate of Queen’s College moved back to the Eastern Cape to join the Mighty Elephants in 2009. He last played club rugby in 2019 for Wanderers in Sandton.
5 Martin Muller
Muller became a bit of a journeyman after the 2010 Varsity Cup. During his time with UCT, he also played for Western Province and the Stormers. In 2010, he moved to Kimberley and played for Griquas in the Currie Cup and the Cheetahs in Super Rugby. After a move to the Dragons in Wales fell through, he decided to join the Lions in 2014 and spent three years in Johannesburg. In 2016 he moved to Hong Kong and signed for Valley RFC.
4 Mike Ledwidge
*Despite our investigation, Ledwidge has fallen completely off the rugby radar. Reach out to us in the comments section if you know what he is up to now.
3 Dylan Rogers
Another part of the Hong Kong group, Rogers moved to Asia to originally start his career as a quantity surveyor. However, he ended up doing that part-time while also playing Test rugby for Hong Kong as they attempted to qualify for the 2019 World Cup. Before this, Rogers spent three years with Irish side Connacht, who he joined in 2010. During his time in Hong Kong, he also started his own biltong business, called the Biltong Chef.
2 JP Koster
Koster traded UCT for Maties in 2009 and helped them retain their Varsity Cup title. He is currently a gold presidential director with Mannatech Incorporated, continuing his path as a network marketer.
1 Herbert Mayosi
Completing his LLB, Mayosi’s rugby career was sidelined as he pursued a career in law. Now with 10 years behind him, he specialises in civil litigation, commercial law, competition law and even sports and media law.
16 Mark Goosen
During his studies at UCT, Goosen represented the Western Province U19 and U21 teams. He played twice for the Province first team in pre-season friendlies against Eastern Province and Namibia. After graduating, Goosen moved back to Durban, where he completed his accounting articles with one of the big firms between 2011 and 2013. During this period he played clubs rugby for Berea Rovers. After completing his articles, Goosen chose to continue his career as an accountant. He accepted a post with Matkovich Property Development Group in Ballito and currently serves as their Financial Manager.
17 Wes Chetty
Chetty is a UCT centurion, having played over 100 games for the Ikey Tigers. He alternated between playing prop for UCT and in the front row for Western Province in the Currie Cup and Vodacom Cup. Currently, he is the 1st XV coach of Bishops.
18 Dane Galley
Galley is a rugby agent for Le Cap Sports and has represented star players such as Huw Jones and Cheslin Kolbe.
19 Kyle Brown
Arguably the most famous player to come from this group, Brown would join the Springbok Sevens in 2008 and go on to become one of their best-ever players and finest captains. Brown retired from all rugby in 2019 after two serious knee injuries. He is the co-owner of Eighteen Coffee in Stellenbosch with former teammates Philip Snyman and Cecil Afrika.
20 Kyle Wickins
The former scrumhalf completed his MSc in Civil Engineering. He currently works at Peter Wium Consulting Engineers in Cape Town.
21 Tim Whitehead
Whitehead had a relatively successful professional career starting out with the Stormers. He played in the Western Cape until 2011, when he decided to join the Sharks after falling out of contention. He spent three years in Durban, with his most successful year coming in 2012. When Jake White joined as the Sharks director of rugby, he again fell out of contention and moved to the Kings. However, he was among the players who walked out on the union after they failed to pay salaries. After seeking a lifeline with Western Province, he decided to retire. He currently co-owns underwear range Frankees with close friend and Springbok captain Siya Kolisi.
22 Peter Haw
After completing his Bsc in Mechanical Engineering at UCT, Haw joined Strait Access Technologies as a design engineer. He currently works for the SOLA Group in Johannesburg as their senior engineer.
Photo: Tertius Pickard / Gallo Images