Varsity 7s will have two new sides vying for top honours in the 2017 edition, with the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and the Central University of Technology (CUT) joining the tournament.
Varsity 7s returns in conjunction with Varsity Beach Volleyball on December 1st this year, and will be hosted at Kings Park in Durban, an ideal venue for the Summer-orientated event.
Durban’s local university, UKZN, will join the tournament along with the Pretoria-based outfit CUT at the expense of the Eastern Cape duo of University of Walter Sisulu (WASU) and the University of Fort Hare. WASU and Fort Hare lost their positions in the tournament after not finishing in the top 10 teams at the USSA competition earlier this year.
The newcomers will be competing with some of the best rugby universities in the country with North Western University (NWU), Nelson Mandela University (Madibaz), University of Johannesburg (UJ), University of Cape Town (UCT), University of the Free State (Kovsies), University of Pretoria (UP-Tuks), along with last year’s Finalists – University of the Western Cape (UWC) and winners, Stellenbosch University (Maties).
Last year, Maties defeated UWC 19-5 to win the 2016 Varsity 7s Final and rounded off a thrilling tournament after breaking a half-time deadlock by scoring two tries in the second half to down their Western Cape counterparts.
UKZN head coach Donald Ngwenya is ecstatic about his side’s involvement in the Varsity 7s competition and that they can play in front of their home crowd in Durban.
“The University of KwaZulu-Natal, in particular, the UKZN Impi Rugby Club, is excited to be part of this prestigious tournament. We are even more thrilled that in our first tournament is going to be played on our doorstep and our UKZN family and friends will be provided with spectacular rugby at Kings Park or sitting at home and watching it live on SuperSport.
“I’m excited to see the players gearing up for this tournament especially since we took the last spot to qualify for these championships. We are thrilled to have home ground advantage and to also grow sevens rugby in UKZN through such high profile tournaments using only UKZN students.”
Ngwenya’s men will kick off the Varsity 7s when they take on title-holders Maties at Kings Park 09:00am on Friday, December 1st.