Varsity Cup – A joke?

March 26, 2013 in Uncategorized


 What is a the point of holding such a tournament, if the powers that be have already decided before kick-off which teams should be in the final?

Perhaps it is for the tv coverage and to keep the nr of viewers up? You might be asking what I am going on about. Well, I was unfortunate enough to watch the NMMU vs Maties game last night (and the round robin clash).

Before I note any further grievances down, and have some readers getting the knickers in a knot – there cannot possibly be a single rugby supporter out there that is not DISGUSTED with the varsity cup and the results of certain games.

I am not talking about the quality of rugby delivered by the kids (which was fantastic), but the referees that decide the results no matter the effort of the teams on the park.

For the purpose of this post, I will take Maties vs NMMU – and you can pick which of the 2 games played this season you would like to review, and the refereeing decisions will make you vomit in your mouth.

I should state that I am a neutral supporter living in Cape Town.

Let’s look at the round robin clash between the 2  teams mentioned earlier when they played on the 18th of Feb. The final score read Maties 13 – 8 NMMU. Taking some “iffy” decisions (only going  1 way though since for those of you that do not know, Maties apparently plays to different rules than anybody else) into condiseration, it should have read Maties 5 – 24 NMMU as a minimum. Just to mention 2 “mistakes”made by the referee in this game:

  • Legitimate try by NMMU  not given due to a pass being called forward by the referee who was at a 90 degree angle to the play and also not calling for the TV official. Replays showed that it was NOT forward
  • Try awarded to Maties after the ball was knocked on, and this was not a close call, but the ball went more than a meter forward but the try was awarded, again without calling for the TV official.

Now, let’s move on to the semi-final played last night. I have no problem with the yellow card for collapsing the maul, but the card for the so-called tip tackle was harsh. If this referee was consistent, then there were at least 4 different yellow cards that should have been shown to Maties, as well as a penalty try.

But again, as we all know that Maties plays to a different set of rules, as mentioned by the commentators of last nights’ game

Although I have to mention, that it would have been nice to play in a maroon jersey

  • you can obstruct defenders without conceding penalties
  • you can use your hands in a ruck and it doesn’t matter if you are on your feet or not
  • you can play off-side all game to stop the opposition from attacking
  • if the opposition teams transgresses with any of the above, then they get penalised and warned .


WOW, how great it must be to play in that maroon jersey

I’m not sure whether the Maties management has a bearing on the futures of the referees, or whether they have the cash to pay off the referees, but this tournament is now tarnished and will continue to lose more viewers if this continues.


11 responses to Varsity Cup – A joke?

  1. Totally agreed, although watching last night, it was a massive game and big up to Madibaz for stretching them as far as they did, even at their mighty home field. But it is true for the tournament to be seemingly benefit those two finalists throughout the competition. Maties definitely having the upper hand in 50 50 calls and infringing the breakdown the whole year without refs taking them to task, and Tuks being granted free reign from the rules by not fielding the stipulated amount of legitimate students. Bulls rugby obviously has major pull somewhere and with the university where it should be a independent sports program for students as the majority…

  2. Didn’t watch these games but isn’t there a referee adjudication board to apply sanctions on poor refereeing? If so, why haven’t they taken action?

    • I’m not sure, but my guess is that the “major” unions have a bearing on these which skews the ratings of the young referees. In fact this probably is the cause of the issues being experienced in the varsity cup

  3. Welcome to the site by the way. Don’t worry about Sherrifffff, he’s just pissed off because no KZN team made the finals :)

  4. TUKS reacts to Varsity Cup dispute

    By Nicolize Mulder

    Posted on 17 March 2013

    The University of Pretoria (UP) wishes to state its position regarding the dispute declared by Varsity Cup and provide further clarification in response to press reports over the past few days, including a press statement from Varsity Cup itself.

    Dispute resolution proceedings between FNB Varsity Cup and the Rugby Club of UP took place on 12 and 14 March. The dispute related to an issue about whether a number of players in the UP team qualify as bona fide players for purposes of the Varsity Cup as well as the Young Guns competition.

    The chairperson of the proceedings was Advocate J. Lubbe, SC.

    The outcome of the proceedings was that all the players concerned in the dispute (except one) qualify as bona fide students and, therefore, are eligible to participate in the competition.

    In regard to the player considered to be ineligible, the chairperson concluded that the individual was not a bona fide student according to his interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution and Regulations of the competition, even though the player was registered as a student at the University and was performing well academically. Adv. Lubbe SC pronounced in his determination as follows:

    “I find that the transgression was neither intentional nor negligent but, rather, technical based on an imperfect interpretation (of the Constitution and Bye-laws).” (Our translation)

    UP was sternly reprimanded for the transgression. The University accepts the outcome of the proceedings.

    The University would like to point out that the transgression was of a technical nature and relates to a single player from a group of approximately 97 junior and senior players. The player participated in four Varsity Cup matches.

    During the 2012 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Varsity Cup, a proposal was submitted that would have provided a mechanism to guide decisions about what constitutes a bona fide student that, by its very nature, could be interpreted and treated differently by participating universities. It was proposed that Registrars of the different universities or their representatives should rule on disputes in this regard. That would have prevented divergent interpretations of the rules. Unfortunately, the proposal was not accepted.

    Mr. Kobus van der Walt, Director of TuksSport, said the following about the incident that caused the dispute:

    “Sportspersons are regularly chosen to participate in junior South African teams or training camps. Unfortunately, the various sports federations do not always take students’ academic programmes into consideration when they organise training camps or international competitions such as the U/20 Rugby World Cup.

    “To accommodate this, the University allows students to discontinue in a given year and, where possible, resume their studies in the same year where it is practically and academically possible. Students allowed such concessions are given no special treatment and often take a year or more to complete their academic programmes. Students are often multi-talented individuals and higher education institutions have to provide opportunities for them to develop all their abilities to the full. The finding in the current dispute resolution process is that the Varsity Cup Constitution and Regulations require that a student has to be enrolled for the full duration of the preceding year, and not just a part thereof, to qualify to participate in the competition as a bona fide student”.

    In regard to the participation of the student concerned for the rest of the competition, Mr. Van der Walt said:

    “The player will be able to participate in the rest of the competition as part of the group of five players that are allowed to participate as non-bona fide students as allowed for in the Constitution. UP’s position is that we are dealing here with a talented student who is performing well academically but who, unfortunately, cannot compete as a bona fide student”.

  5. I thought I was alone in this view. Maties were playing with 16 men on the field. I too am a neutral supporter and was appalled at the ref’s decisions especially not giving NMMU a penalty try for colapsing the mall 2m away from the Maties try line. Generally though it was a disgrace, the ref was bias and frankly it came down to cheateing – it was an embarressment.

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