Former Spingbok captain and Varsity Cup founder, Francois Pienaar shared details of a number of innovative changes to be introduced to the tournament in 2016. These include a new scrumming law, which sees the introduction of the ‘slide’ call, replacing ‘set’. This will minimise the impact between front rows and ensure a lower number of reset scrums.
A new points system for tries will see teams rewarded for ball retention and running rugby. Teams scoring tries where possession was gained within their own half and kept until the try is scored, will score an additional four bonus points to the traditional five-point try, in what many are labelling ‘the nine point try’.
SARU CEO and Varsity Cup Chairman, Jurie Roux emphasised the impact that Varsity Rugby has had on the development of rugby in South Africa. A number of players have launched Springbok careers from the Varsity Cup platform.
“This competition doesn’t only provide university players with an opportunity to launch their careers,” said Roux. “If you look at this year’s South African Vodacom Super Rugby franchises, four out of the five coaches have emerged through the Varsity Cup coaching ranks. The competition is playing an integral role in the development of rugby in South Africa.”
The tournament begins on Monday, 8 February 2016.