Varsity Rugby

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Varsity Rugby
Most recent season or competition:
2015 Varsity Cup
The current FNB Varsity Cup logo
Sport Rugby union
Founded 2008
Inaugural season 2008
No. of teams 8 (Cup)
5 (Shield)
Country South Africa
Most recent champion(s) UCT Ikey Tigers (2nd title)
Most titles Maties (3)
TV partner(s) Supersport
Sponsor(s) First National Bank
Official website

Varsity Rugby is a series of South African rugby union competitions that involve the top rugby playing universities in the country.


The Varsity Cup tournament was founded in 2008, featuring the rugby teams of eight universities. At the same time, the Koshuis Rugby Championships was also launched. This is a competition where each of the eight universities is represented by the "koshuis" (university residence) that won their internal league.

In 2011, a second tier was added below the Varsity Cup tournament, called the Varsity Shield, which featured the rugby teams of a further five universities.

In 2012, an Under-20 competition was also added, called the Young Guns. The eight teams that took part in the first four editions of the Varsity Cup entered teams in this competition.

These four competitions are known under the collective "Varsity Rugby".[1] The title sponsors of these tournaments First National Bank and Steinhoff International.

The Varsity Rugby competitions also implement rules which help to ensure that the majority of the players are bona fide students of the relevant universities.[2]

Current Teams[edit]

Varsity Cup[edit]

UCT is the oldest of the competing universities
Tuks won the 2012 Varsity Cup

The eight teams currently competing in the Varsity Cup are:

Varsity Cup
Team Name University Stadium
CUT Ixias Central University of Technology CUT Stadium, Bloemfontein
Maties Stellenbosch University Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch
NMMU Madibaz Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University NMMU Stadium, Port Elizabeth
NWU Pukke North-West University Fanie du Toit Stadium, Potchefstroom
UCT Ikey Tigers University of Cape Town UCT Rugby Fields, Cape Town
UFS Shimlas University of the Free State Shimla Park, Bloemfontein
UJ University of Johannesburg UJ Stadium, Johannesburg
UP Tuks University of Pretoria LC de Villiers Stadium, Pretoria

Varsity Shield[edit]

The five teams currently competing in the Varsity Shield are:

Varsity Shield
Team Name University Stadium
TUT Vikings Tshwane University of Technology TUT Stadium, Pretoria
UFH Blues University of Fort Hare Davidson Rugby Field, Alice
UKZN Impi University of KwaZulu-Natal Peter Booysen Sports Park, Pietermaritzburg
UWC University of the Western Cape UWC Sport Stadium, Cape Town
Wits University of the Witwatersrand Wits Rugby Stadium, Johannesburg

Young Guns[edit]

The eight Varsity Cup teams will each enter a Young Guns (Under-20) team.

Koshuis Rugby Championships[edit]

The eight Varsity Cup teams will each enter a Koshuis Rugby team.


The tournament begins with a round robin stage, in which all teams play each other once. The league scoring system follows that of Super Rugby in which 4 points are awarded for a win, and 2 points for a draw. Teams may also be awarded bonus points for either scoring 4 tries in a game, or for losing within 7 points of their opponents. At the end of the round robin stage, the top 4 teams go to the knockout stage with the top 2 teams being awarded home semi-finals.

Player eligibility[edit]

In the 2012 season, Varsity Cup and Shield sides were required to have 16 full-time students in their 23 man squads. The Young Guns and Koshuis competitions were restricted to full-time students only.[3]

In the 2013 season, Varsity Cup teams were required to have 18 full-time students in their 23 man squads. In addition, students needed to have passed at least 30% of their previous year's courses, and all players, even non-students, must have finished high school.[4]

From the 2014 season, Varsity Cup teams were required to have 20 full-time students in their 23 man squads. It is intended that 2014 will be the last year in which non-students will be used. A 23 man squad of full-time students has been proposed from 2015 onwards.[5]

Season Summaries[edit]

Varsity Cup[edit]

Year Winner Score Runner-up Losing semi-finalists Relegated
2008 Maties 16–10 UCT Ikey Tigers NWU Pukke
UP Tuks
2009 Maties 11–6 NWU Pukke UCT Ikey Tigers
UP Tuks
2010 Maties 17–14 UCT Ikey Tigers NWU Pukke
UFS Shimlas
2011 UCT Ikey Tigers 26–16 UP Tuks UFS Shimlas
2012 UP Tuks 29–21 Maties NWU Pukke
TUT Vikings
2013 UP Tuks 44–5 Maties NMMU Madibaz
2014 UCT Ikey Tigers 39-33 NWU Pukke Maties
NMMU Madibaz

Varsity Shield[edit]

Year Winner Score Runner-up Losing semi-finalists Promoted
2011 CUT Ixias 25–18 Wits N/A N/A
2012 Wits 19–17 CUT Ixias N/A Wits
2013 CUT Ixias 29–19 UWC N/A N/A
2014 CUT Ixias 35–26 UKZN Impi N/A CUT Ixias

Young Guns[edit]

Year Winner Score Runner-up Losing semi-finalists
2012 UP Tuks Young Guns 35–26 Maties Juniors NWU Pukke Young Guns
UFS Shimlas Young Guns
2013 UP Tuks Young Guns 50–21 Maties Juniors UCT Trojans
UFS Shimlas Young Guns
2014 UFS Shimlas Young Guns 17–171 UP Tuks Young Guns UJ Young Guns
Maties Juniors

1 The UFS Shimlas Young Guns beat UP Tuks Young Guns in a kick-off following a 17–17 draw in the 2014 final.

Koshuis Rugby Championships[edit]

Year Winner Score Runner-up Losing semi-finalists
2008 Dagbreek, Maties 22–14 Maroela, UP Tuks Dromedaris, UJ
2009 Huis Armentum, UFS Shimlas 30–16 Dromedaris, UJ Barbarians, NMMU Madibaz
Maroela, UP Tuks
2010 Vishuis, UFS Shimlas 22–7 Dagbreek, Maties Maroela, UP Tuks
Villagers, NWU Pukke
2011 Patria, NWU Pukke 21–0 Simonsberg, Maties Northernz, NMMU Madibaz
Tornadoes, UCT Ikey Tigers
2012 Vishuis, UFS Shimlas 44–26 Dagbreek, Maties Cobras, UCT Ikey Tigers
Patria, NWU Pukke
2013 Vishuis, UFS Shimlas 20–16 Villagers, NWU Pukke Bastion, UJ
Medies, Maties
2014 Heimat, UFS Shimlas 20–12 Patria, NWU Pukke Cobras, UCT Ikey Tigers
Medies, Maties

Overall Record[edit]

Varsity Cup[edit]

Stellenbosch University is the most successful Varsity Cup team thus far
Team Name Wins Runner-up Semi-Final
1 Maties 3 2 1
2 UCT Ikey Tigers 2 2 1
3 UP Tuks 2 1 2
4 NWU Pukke 0 2 3
5 UJ 0 0 3
6 NMMU Madibaz 0 0 2
UFS Shimlas 0 0 2
8 TUT Vikings 0 0 0
Wits 0 0 0

Varsity Shield[edit]

Team Name Wins Runner-up
1 CUT Ixias 3 1
2 Wits 1 1
3 UKZN Impi 0 1
UWC 0 1
5 TUT Vikings 0 0
UFH Blues 0 0


The Rugby Transformation Coalition has called for a boycott of the Varsity Cup. This is due to the exclusion of formerly black universities, and the low representation of black players.[6]

Varsity Cup universities has faced accusations of professionalism,[7] and breaking eligibility rules.[8] The punishments handed to guilty teams have also been seen as lenient.[9]

The practice of charging students for tickets, as well as the prices set, have been a point of contention. This lead to an sms campaign against the University of Pretoria[10]

No private universities have been allowed to compete in the tournament, leading to complaints from Varsity College.[11]

Notable Players and Coaches[edit]

Bob Skinstad is a former UCT assistant coach


The tournament is sponsored by:

External links[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Varsity Cup bigger and better". 2012-01-24. Retrieved 2012-01-25. 
  2. ^ "VC Competition Rules 2012". Retrieved 2012-02-06. 
  3. ^ "Varsity cheat claims cleared up". Sport24. 19 March 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "Varsity Cup values restored". SA Rugby Magazine. 21 January 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "Varsity Cup eyeing full student ‘quota’". SA Rugby Magazine. 20 January 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "Threats of Varsity Cup boycott". City Press. 12 May 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "Rugby that Rocks, or Pops?". Rugga World. 21 February 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "Varsity Cup High Drama!". Front Row Grunt. 20 March 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  9. ^ "Tuks sidestep punishment again after player eligibility "oversight"". Die Matie. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  10. ^ "SMS campaign launched against Varsity Cup entrance fees". AfriForum Youth. 25 February 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2014. 
  11. ^ "No Varsity Cup/Shield for Durban until 2015". Durban Collegians. Retrieved 21 January 2014.