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Future SA rugby stars on show as varsity rugby kicks off

Supplied


South Africa's future rugby stars will be on show when the 2024 FNB Varsity Cup and FNB Varsity Shield competitions kick off.

The action starts next Monday when FNB UFS Shimlas and FNB UCT Ikeys clash in Cape Town, while the clash between FNB WSU and FNB UKZN at Sisa Dukashe Stadium in East London on Thursday 22 February.

The two inter-varsity competitions have produced more than 50 players who made the "giant leap" from Varsity Cup and Varsity Shield to the Springboks.

And, according to 1995 Rugby World Cup winning captain Francois Pienaar, he is proud of the achievements so far.

"The competitiveness we've witnessed in Varsity Cup and Shield promises the graduation of even more stars to the Springboks, affirming that the system works as a perfect bridge between high school and provincial rugby.

"I'm also excited by developments in the Shield competition with the addition of a Varsity College team highlighting the importance of promotion and relegation. And then building on the success of last year's first FNB Varsity Cup Women, this year FNB UWC will be joining, reflecting the significant growth of women's rugby.

"In essence, these developments amplify the Varsity Cup and Shield's role as the ultimate platform for aspiring rugby players, fostering talent and diversity whilst playing cracking rugby!"

Pienaar said there were a few notable changes from the 2023 competition and a few additional highlights for 2024.

These include that the majority of Shield matches take place on Fridays with only a handful on Thursdays.

Pienaar said there is also great excitement around mascots that will be a key feature of this year's tournament.