For club rugby in KwaZulu Natal, it’s an earlier start than usual for the 2020 season with the FNB UKZN IMPI facing up to Nelson Mandela University outfit the Madibaz in the opening round of the Varsity Shield in Port Elizabeth on Friday evening.
It certainly won’t be an easy opener against the runners up in last year’s competition. The Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) won a memorable final last year after a magnificent come back to snatch a 32-28 victory at the death over the Madibaz.
In the other games, Rhodes University will be at home to the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and CUT entertain the Walter Sisulu University from East London. The University of Fort Hare has a bye in the opening round. All games are scheduled for a 7:00pm kickoff on Friday evening.
The 23 man UKZN Impi squad for Port Elizabeth is Melusi Mthabela, Mfanelo Mhlongo, Phelelani Zuma, Philippus Botha, Luthando Mhlanga, Charl Cuttings, Sphephelo Mabuza, Llwadden Roux, Sibonakaliso Dubazane, Dawro Kock, Tondarai Ndudzo, Galula Poswa, Wandile Shabangu, Onke Jiba and Sibongila Vukile Novuka. Bench: Asiphe Fanele, Lindelwe Cele, Minenhle Ngubane, Menzi Mabaso, Sinamava Ntsinde, Johan Maritz, Linamkele Mcwabeni and Ntando Msweli.
Meanwhile, there are 12 clubs confirmed for the Link Sports Bozas Cup scheduled for 7th March and hosted by the Eshowe Rugby Club. The now-famous club competition is celebrating its 74th Anniversary first played for in 1946 and is the most unique and only rugby tournament of its kind in World Rugby and best described as the 15 man game played to sevens rules. Exciting and fast it is a hugely entertaining format of the game.
Eshowe Rugby Club who will be celebrating their centenary next year has announced the line for this year’s competition with Harlequins from the Bluff making their first appearance at the iconic tournament. Ballito Dolphins who will be fielding two sides with the Crusaders Crushers and Drakensburg from Winterton are the other three visiting clubs from outside Zululand.
The other teams are hosts Eshowe, Richards Bay, Empangeni, Hluhluwe, Mtubatuba, Esikhalweni and The University of Zululand with Mandini are yet to confirm.