The Varsity Cup rugby tournament returns to university stadiums across South Africa in February and has already produced great results for the national rugby system.
The made-for-television format has already produced 16 Springboks, with no fewer than seven chosen for the Rugby World Cup this year.
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Those who cut their teeth on the Varsity Cup are: Handré Pollard (University of Pretoria), Damian de Allende (University of Cape Town), Eben Etzebeth (University of Cape Town), Coenie Oosthuizen (University of the Free State), Trevor Nyakane (Central University of Technology), Loodewyk de Jager (North-West University) and Rudy Paige (University of Johannesburg).
The 2015 Varsity Cup champions, UFS-Shimlas, also saw three of their players – Niell Jordaan, Gerhard Olivier and Niel Marais – go on to represent the Cheetahs in the Currie Cup season.
Varsity Cup CEO Duitser Bosman said the tournament had been a great springboard for players to launch their careers.
“We’re excited about the upcoming season and we know the teams will give rugby fans something to look forward to.”
Bosman said the format placed a premium on attacking, innovative, clinical and creative rugby.
“We are starting to see some positive effects and seeing young players making the national squad. It has been a great platform for players and selectors,” said Varsity Cup manager Xhanti-Lomzi Nesi.