Scrumhalf innovation to rock VC
The eighth edition of the Varsity Cup will bring with it another batch of intriguing innovations.
Now doubt the latest law trials will produce even more excitement to this year's competition.
The 2015 season kicks off on February 9, and among some of the exciting innovations, is the return of the White Card.
The white card, which allows coaches and captains to refer decisions for review to Television Match Officials during games, was first introduced during the inaugural Varsity Cup competition in 2008. The system makes a welcome return and is endorsed by the South African Rugby Union.
This is just another way Varsity Cup ensures it remains at the forefront of sporting innovation and assist SARU in testing ideas.
This season will also see the addition of the decision around the defensive scrumhalf. The defensive scrumhalf change in rules will see the No.9 of the team not feeding the ball at the scrum defending the scrum not allowed to pass the mouth of the scrum once the ball has been inserted.
In other words, the defending scrumhalf will not be allowed to follow the ball.
Varsity Cup hopes this rule will encourage a running style of play and diminish the breakdowns at the scrum.
Founder of the competition, former Springbok captain Francois Pienaar, believes this year will be even bigger and better than last year.
"This year is a very exciting year for Varsity Cup Rugby," Pienaar said.
"The return of the White Card presents us with a unique opportunity to trial something that we could one day see used in international rugby.
Sport cannot afford to stagnate in this day and age and it is important that it evolves with the players in mind. The White Card is there to ensure the correct decision is always made," Pienaar said.
The 2014 edition saw UCT Ikeys crowned champions after an emphatic comeback. Ikeys scored three tries in five minutes to beat NWU-Pukke 39-33, after being 15-33 behind.
Duitser Bosman, CEO of Varsity Sports, hopes this year's competition will be equally exciting.
"We saw some brilliant rugby played last year and believe that this year will be no different. The excitement around the tournament has really come of age in the last few years. The crowds have been brilliant, but most importantly, we have seen the Varsity Cup be a springboard for players to launch their career," Bosman explained.
The competition is also a springboard for players to further their careers. Last year's Currie Cup final saw 29 of the 44 players come from a pool of former Varsity Cup players, evidence that the platform is breeding some of the best talent in the country.
As usual, there will be hotly contested derby matches between Ikeys and Maties, Shimlas and CUT, UJ and Tuks as well as a repeat of last year's final in Potchefstroom.
The competition would not have been able to grow, were it not for the continued support from the sponsors, something Bosman feels is testament to the quality of the competition.
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