VC tweaks scoring model again
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: A new try-scoring points model has been introduced for the 2017 edition of the Varsity Cup competition when the 10th anniversary kicks-off on January 30.
The nine-point try - that was introduced in 2016 for any side scoring an uninterrupted try from their own half - has been dropped. However, the seven-point try remains with some changes.
A try which originates inside a team's own half, without surrendering possession, will count as a seven-pointer in 2017 while any try that originates inside the opposition's half will count as the normal five points.
"There is great excitement around the eagerly anticipated try-scoring rule this season, which will see a try counting seven points when originating from anywhere in a team's own half, and five points if in the opposition half.
"This rule will reward teams that score tries without surrendering possession, running it in from their own half. The amended mauling law and scrumming law also added an exciting dimension to the playing conditions in 2016, decreasing the amount of time spent resetting these two aspects of play," Varsity Cup general manager Xhanti-Lomzi Nesi said.
Defending champions NWU-Pukke gets the competition underway with a trip to Johannesburg to face UJ in a rematch of the 2016 semifinal - a match that Pukke claimed 35-7. The opening wraps up with another 2016 semifinal rematch as Maties travel to Pretoria to face UP-Tuks.
UCT-Ikeys get their campaign going at the Tygerberg Stadium against NMMU-Madibaz while newcomers Wits - who gained promotion to the Cup division - play hosts to the Shimlas. CUT will enjoy a first round bye.
The 10th anniversary of the competition coincides with the expansion to a nine-team Cup division, while the Shield will see three new teams - CPUT, Rhodes and Walter Sisulu - joining tournament regulars UKZN-Impi, UWC, TUT and Fort Hare.
"[Former Springboks coach] Heyneke Meyer suggested the competition look into an equal home and away format, and with the extra team added, we are finally there. Another first in Varsity Cup history sees the opening week take place in January," Varsity Cup CEO Duitser Bosman said.
The Madibaz have been forced to forego all their home fixtures as the NMMU Stadium undergoes an upgrade.
For the first time, the Shield competition will kick-off a week later on February 9.
UWC will begin a new Cape derby against CPUT in the opening round at the UWC Stadium while TUT are set to play hosts to Rhodes. The Davidson Stadium in Alice will host the Eastern Cape derby between Fort Hare and Walter Sisulu.