Rhodes brace for Varsity Shield

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Another year of university rugby kicks off on Monday 18 February, with the start of the 2019 FNB Varsity Shield tournament coming on Monday 18 February. This will be the third year in a row that Rhodes University will be participating in the competition, having won their promotion/relegation match against the University of Zululand at the end of 2018.

Rhodes University captain, Joshua Parsons, runs onto the field in the last preparation match ahead of the 2019 Varsity Shield season.
Photo: Daniel Goldberg

Rhodes has had a run of bad luck in the competition since their first year in 2017. They have finished at the bottom of the table in both seasons up until now, having failed to secure a single win in last year’s regular season competition. This year, however, they intend to use the new expertise gained from incoming Sports Administrator, Frans Mamabolo, to earn a few more victories.

“2019 is still going to be the year of building Rhodes Sport, and Rugby is one of the sport codes that we earmarked to make big changes moving forward,” said Mamabolo. “Division of Student Affairs and Sport Administration have put their resources in support of the team for this year’s shield campaign.”

Mamabolo, who was previously involved with the sports programme at the University of Cape Town (UCT) which takes part in the Varsity Cup competition each year, is confident that the players will give their all in this year’s Varsity Shield season. “We are expecting that they will compete for Rhodes University and they will do their outmost best to win all their games, or at least get a podium position.”

The Rhodes team will get their campaign underway on Monday 18 February, when they travel to the Howard College rugby stadium to take on the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN). Rhodes hosted UKZN in 2018, in what ended as a 0-48 defeat for the home side, however they will not let that distract them from getting the best possible start to their 2019 season.

The remainder of the Rhodes season will see them take on the University of Fort Hare (UFH) on 21 February, Nelson Mandela Univeristy (NMU, Madibaz) on 25 February, Walter Sisulu University (WSU) on 4 March, the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) on 11 March, and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) on 18 March, with their bye week coming in the last round of the regular season.

“We at Sports Administartion, we are behind you boys, and we know that you have it in you to make us proud. You carry the hopes of all of us here at Rhodes. Go out there and do your best, but most importantly enjoy it whilst it lasts,” said Mamabolo.

Rhodes took on Old Collegians in their last pre-season match before the opening round of the Varsity Shield.
Photo: Daniel Goldeberg

Full list of Varsity Shield Fixtures:

18 February 2019 – Round 1

FNB Madibaz vs FNB CPUT- 18:30 (Madibaz Stadium)

FNB UFH vs FNB WSU – 18:30 (Davidson Stadium)

FNB UKZN vs FNB Rhodes – 18:30 (Howard College Rugby Stadium)

 

21 February 2019 – Round 2

FNB Rhodes vs FNB UFH – 16:45 (BCM Stadium) Live on SuperSport

FNB CPUT vs FNB TUT – 18:30 (CPUT Sports Stadium)

FNB WSU vs FNB Madibaz – 19:00 (BCM Stadium) Live on SuperSport

 

25 February 2019 – Round 3

FNB Madibaz vs FNB Rhodes – 18:30 (Madibaz Stadium)

FNB WSU vs FNB CPUT – 18:30 (BCM Stadium)

FNB TUT vs FNB UKZN – 18:30 (TUT Stadium)

 

4 March 2019 – Round 4

FNB UKZN vs FNB Madibaz – 18:30 (Peter Booysen Sports Stadium)

FNB Rhodes vs FNB WSU – 18:30 (Rhodes Great Field)

FNB UFH vs FNB TUT – 18:30 (Davidson Stadium)

 

11 March 2019 – Round 5

FNB WSU vs FNB UKZN – 18:30 (BCM Stadium)

FNB TUT vs FNB Rhodes – 18:30 (TUT Stadium)

FNB CPUT vs FNB UFH – 18:30 (CPUT Sports Stadium)

 

18 March 2019 – Round 6

FNB Madibaz vs FNB TUT – 18:30 (Madibaz Stadium)

FNB UKZN vs FNB UFH – 18:30 (Howard College Rugby Stadium)

FNB Rhodes vs FNB CPUT – 18:30 (Rhodes Great Field)

 

25 March 2019 – Round 7

FNB UFH vs FNB Madibaz – 18:30 (Davidson Stadium)

FNB TUT vs FNB WSU – 18:30 (TUT Stadium)

FNB CPUT vs FNB UKZN – 18:30 (CPUT Sports Stadium)

 

4 April 2019 – Round 8

TBC vs TBC

16:45

TBC

Live on SuperSport

TBC vs TBC

19:00

TBC

Live on SuperSport

 

11 April 2019 – Round 9

TBC vs TBC

19:00

TBC

Live on SuperSport

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Young and up-and-coming sports reporter with a passion for rugby and cricket. Born and raised in Boksburg, Gauteng, I came to Grahamstown (Makhanda) to learn the journalism trade, and improve all round.

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