There is no indication when the games will resume.
All Varsity Cup matches have been suspended with immediate effect following the declaration of a state of disaster in South Africa on Sunday, March 15.
“All FNB Varsity Cup matches, including FNB Varsity Young Guns and FNB Varsity Shield are suspended with immediate effect”, read a statement on the Varsity Cup website and their social media pages on Tuesday, March 17. According to the statement, the suspension of the competition is in line with the changes in the academic programme, which has largely been suspended around the country. Varsity Cup is a rugby league involving teams from South African universities.
Mervyn Taylor, head of rugby for North-West University, said “we as rugby [are] bound by the decision of the NWU, Varsity Cup and SA rugby, we will be in contact with our players to keep them updated, at this stage there [are] no rugby activities.”
Wits rugby player, Daniel Kasende, expressed his disappointment about the suspension of games but feels that it is the best decision in light of the global pandemic.
“I think the team agrees [with the suspension] and have the same views. Yes we are in a good space and we are doing really well but that has had to take second place to the safety of our lives and well-being,” Kasende said.
Similarly, Maties (Stellenbosch University), rugby player, Nevaldo Fleurs, told Wits Vuvuzela, “I’m deeply troubled since so much work and sacrifices have been made to get to where we were.”
Maties have won the FNB Varsity Cup consecutively for the past two years and were first on the 2020 scoreboard at the time of the suspension.
Fleurs said, “With USSA [University Sports South Africa] and Club league still to come, selflessness, which is one of our values, is going to play a big role. I have the trust in my brothers that they shall follow the programme to come back stronger and faster.”
The Varsity Cup statement clarifies that the suspension of rugby does not entail the cancellation of the games but rather a postponement to a later date which has not been confirmed.
“SA Rugby is in ongoing deliberations on the reworked domestic rugby calendar and as a result, the Varsity Cup Board will reconvene towards the end April 2020 to reassess the situation and take a final decision on the 2020 competition,” read the statement.
FEATURED IMAGE: FNB Wits players Emmanuel Tshituka and Lindokuhle Ncusane at Varsity Cup match on March 9, 2020, at the Wits Rugby Stadium. Photo: Tshepo Thaela