The Varsity Cup has, through its various initiatives, created a product that can simply be titled “Sportainment”, a phrase coined by founder Francois Pienaar. Throughout the years since its foundation, the Varsity Cup has taken the platform and used it to experiment with a range of rules from ridiculous to sublime, in order to create the best possible product for the viewers and the fans. With that in mind we look towards the big rules that differ in the 2015 Varsity Cup as the launch was held at Copperleaf Golf Estate in Johannesburg on Monday.
The 2015 season will see the reintroduction of the White Card rule. This rule allows coaches and captains to refer decisions for review to Television Match Officials (TMOs) during games, was first introduced during the inaugural Varsity Cup competition in 2008. The system is back this year and is endorsed by the South African Rugby Union (SARU).
This was in trial last year and will return once again, which is a fantastic initiative which after a few teething issues will be even better this year. Eyes on each side of a scrum can only help improve the quality of the scrumming in the competition which bodes well for our senior competitions too.
An initiative that started with very light pink shorts for the Man of the Match from the previous game, is now at its most crimson and bright and a huge favourite with players and fans alike. It is important to remember the importance of the pink as it is a constant reminder of the Varsity Cup standing up against the abuse of women and children. Keep the Aggro on the field
The newbies from the Central University of Technology (CUT) from Bloemfontein will make their bow this year after winning promotion from the Varsity Shield. This should be fantastic as we will get to see a Free State derby for the first time this year when Shimlas take on CUT.
This season will also see the addition of the Defensive Scrumhalf. The Defensive Scrumhalf is a simple change in rules where the scrumhalf defending the scrum will not be 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 that this rule will encourage a running rugby style of play and diminish the breakdowns at the scrum.
Also be sure to check out the #PinkRoseChallenge and take the pledge to respect women. Nominate a friend and make the world a better place.
The rules might be different, the quality will not. The competition will continue to highlight the best of South African university sport. Its a Monday night, so remember to BACK YOUR BOYTJIES!