Varsity Cup promises big 2012
Johannesburg - The 2012 Varsity Cup season was kicked-off in fine style at the Blair Atholl Golf Estate on Monday - with promises of even bigger and better things to come this year.
Whilst one would ordinarily scoff at pre-tournament talk of things being "bigger and better", there are now four tournaments under the Varsity Cup banner - meaning 29 teams competing for four trophies and a total of 82 fixtures from January 30 until the finals day on April 9.
Varsity Rugby - as the collective property is known - is serious about growth and deadly serious about being "bigger and better".
The Varsity Cup and Koshuisrugby Championships were joined by the successful Varsity Shield tournament last year and this year, in 2012, the Varsity Young Guns - a students-only Under-20 tournament - is expected to add to the fun, excitement and development of the game.
But Varsity Rugby is more than just about what happens on the field, with a new points-scoring system already setting the tongues wagging, and plenty matchday entertainment in store for those fans and followers set to attend matches in 2012.
All this, and more, was explained in detail at Monday's launch in Johannesburg, as pay-channel SuperSport's Xola Ntshinga - acting as MC on the day - kept the media, special guests and all the university representatives entertained and put the likes of Francois Pienaar and Jurie Roux through their paces up front.
Pienaar is the former Varsity Cup Board Chairman and he currently serves as sponsor's FNB's representative on the board. Roux took over the chairmanship from Pienaar in 2010 and continues in that role, despite being kept extremely busy these days as SARU's Chief Executive Officer.
"It's always a pleasure to be up here talking about the start of a new Varsity Rugby season - a tournament which has grown from strength-to-strength since 2008," commented the 1995 World Cup-winning Springbok captain.
"Who would've guessed that this tournament would've grown so much since that inaugural year and captured the imagination of the public in the process? That, in itself, is such an achievement."
Roux added: "The Varsity Cup will always be close to my heart. But when you look at the quality of people that we're able to get into one room on a day like this, I think you can understand why."
The 2012 Varsity Rugby season will get underway on January 30 with the start of the Varsity Shield, before the Cup kicks-off the following week on February 6 - along with the Young Guns competition - and, eventually, followed by the Koshuisrugby Championships on February 13.