Varsity Cup and Shield rugby matches will be postponed indefinitely following a decision by sponsor Steinhoff International on Tuesday afternoon.
The matches were initially postponed following a game that took place in Bloemfontein on February 22, where the University of Free State Shimlas were taking on the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s Madibaz. Protestors from the University of Free State came onto the field of play and disrupted the rugby game.
After violent clashes between protestors and spectators at that game, the University of Free State postponed its lectures. Three days later, Steinhoff International announced that games scheduled for February 29, would be postponed till the board met and assessed the situation in universities.
In the initial statement, Varsity Cup CEO Duitser Bosman said the tournament does not condone any form of violence, discrimination or disruptive behaviour. “The safety of students, players and spectators is of immense priority to us. The current challenges facing universities and students are a concern. We have compassion and respect for the situation and hope that amicable solutions can be reached with all parties,” Duitser said.
The board then met again on Tuesday this week and decided to extend the postponement further. According to the statement released yesterday, the board will meet weekly to assess the situations in universities before any of the matches resume.
Wits Rugby team captain Conor Brockschmidt says the postponement of the games has not affected the team negatively at all. “We are just taking it as extra time for preparation. We are going to continue training as if we’re going to play every Monday,” Brockschmidt said.
So far, Wits has been doing well in the tournament with the team sitting at second place on the Varsity Shield log. They have won three of the four games they’ve played thus far. They are due to meet University of Kwa Zulu-Natal (UKZN) and the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) in their upcoming two fixtures. This, of course, being if the fixtures remain the same after the postponement.