The stage is set for NMMU‘s George Campus to host the University Sport South Africa (USSA) rugby sevens tournament for a sixth consecutive year.
This year the field has been left wide open as champions Tuks will not be returning to defend their title next week as a result of many of their players being unavailable due to exams, giving thirteen teams from universities all over the country an opportunity to battle it out for the cup.
“We are very excited to be hosting this two-day tournament for the sixth straight year,” said George campus sports administrator Marnus de Klerk.
“It is good to know that our campus has established itself as the home of the USSA sevens, and we are honoured to welcome all the teams who’ll be arriving over the weekend.”
Teams are scheduled to arrive at the NMMU George Campus this coming Sunday for registration and to settle in before the matches kick off on Monday. Play-offs will continue on Tuesday, culminating in the finals later that day.
De Klerk said postponed examinations affected the availability of a number of players at several institutions, but at least thirteen squads had confirmed, including Maties, UJ, two from Pukke and two from the Madibaz.
“Tuks have won the last two tournaments. With them not coming it creates a unique opportunity for another team to step up and claim the title. It should make for some spectacular sevens rugby.”
Maties could look to return the cup to their trophy case where it stood for three years prior to Tuks winning it in 2013.
Following the Varsity Cup rugby tournament earlier this year UJ have dominated every other tournament in the 15-man format, and are aiming to add the sevens title to their list of achievements. But they should brace themselves for some tough competition from the likes of Kovsies, Pukke and the hosts.
“We are expecting some fast-paced action. Sevens has always been very entertaining rugby, and these young student athletes are sure to put on a show,” said De Klerk.
He added that the tournament provided an opportunity to develop young talent in the steadily growing sport of rugby sevens.
“All university tournaments are breeding grounds for young talent, making them very important for sports development and, in this case, for the future of rugby.”
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