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UWC in Varsity Sports/Varsity Rugby

UWC in Varsity Sports

The University of the Western Cape are one of the founder members of the University Sports Company (USC) which, in 2012, saw the establishment of Varsity Sports – a high performance competition that enables South African universities to compete against one another in a number of different sporting codes.

As it happened, UWC were among the first tournament winners. They claimed the inaugural Varsity Beach Volleyball series in 2012 which took place alongside Varsity 7s Rugby in Plettenberg Bay and Margate. Over the years, UWC established themselves as the powerhouse of university beach volleyball, claiming four of the five titles – 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016 – before the code was discontinued after the 2017 event.

The men's football team won the Varsity Football title in 2015 in front of a capacity crowd at UWC Sports Stadium – aka the Operation Room. The women, meanwhile, featured in four finals (2015, 2016, 2018, 2019) before – in 2021 – finally claiming another Varsity Sports title for the University. The women then reclaimed their crown in 2023.

UWC have also excelled themselves in other Varsity Sports codes. They reached the final of the 2015 cricket tournament and 2016 sevens rugby competition and individuals have shone during athletics meetings. UWC teams have also competed in Varsity Netball and Varsity Basketball, leaving only hockey and mountain bike as the codes the University has yet to to compete in.

Year-by-year record

Beach Volleyball winners overall: (final vs UJ in Plettenberg Bay rained out but beat UJ in Margate final, 38-22)
Winning team: Bejancke Della, Prudence Layters and Kudzai Chireka

7s Rugby: 7th overall (6th in Plettenberg Bay, 7th - Plate winners - in Margate)

Athletics: 8th overall (8th at Maties, UJ and Tuks meetings)

Men’s Football: 6th

Beach Volleyball winners: beat UJ in final, 37-36 
Winning team: Bejancke Della (Player of the Tournament), Prudence Layters (Best Defender) and Kayla-Lee Provins (MVP)

7s Rugby: 6th (lost Plate Final vs NWU, 10-20)
Player of the Tournament: Frederick Muller

Athletics: 6th overall (6th at Madibaz and UJ meetings, 7 th at Maties meeting then 6th at Tuks meeting)

Women’s Football: semi-finalists

Men’s Football: 6th
Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Reon October

Cricket: 5th

Athletics: 6th overall (6th at NWU and Maties meetings)

Beach Volleyball winners: beat Tuks in Final, 44-25
Winning team: Bejancke Della, Kayla-Lee Provins and Basetsane Malubane

7s Rugby: 6th (lost Plate Final, vs UCT, 12-17)

Women’s Football: runners-up (lost final to TUT, 1-2)

Men’s Football winners: beat TUT in final, 2-1
Winning team: Reon October (captain), Marshall Jansen, Keenan Davis, Akhona Bonga, Thulani Mkosi, Tapelo Sixishe, Phiwokuhle Mpalala, Ashwin Kounzie, Thando Ziwele, Josh Silent, Ryan Steer, Marchello Viglino, Ayanda Nkukwana, Lwando Ngqwemla, Amanzo Jacobs, Nhlanhla Manana, Chadwin Lotters, Shakeel Sadien. 
Player of the Tournament: Thulani Mkosi

Cricket: runners-up (lost final to Tuks, by 21 runs)

Athletics: 6th (6th at UJ and Maties meetings)

7s Rugby: runners-up (lost final to Maties, 5-19)

Beach Volleyball winners: beat Tuks in final, 33-29
Winning team: Bejancke Della, Basetsane Malubane, Prudence Layters and Tamlyn Thomas

Women’s Football: runners-up (lost final to TUT, 0-1)

Men’s Football: 6th

Cricket: 5th

Athletics: 6th overall (6th at NWU and Tuks meetings)

Women’s Football: semi-finalists

Men’s Football: semi-finalists

Netball: 6th

Beach Volleyball: semi-finalists

7s Rugby: 6th (lost Plate Final to UP-Tuks, 7-10)

Cricket: 6th

Athletics: 6th overall (6th at both Tuks meetings)

Women’s Football: runners-up (lost final to TUT, 1-2)
Player of the Tournament: Bongeka Gamede

Men’s Football: 6th

7s Rugby: 4th (lost Bronze Final to Madibaz, 19-24 in sudden death)

Netball: 6th

*Athletics: Some UWC athletes competed in the Wimpy Invitational team for Varsity Athletics 2019 (meetings held at Maties and NWU)
Rowhaldo Ratz (5000m), Ashley Smith (1500m) and Nabeela Parker (100m) won events at Maties, while Smith also won 1500m at NWU

Women’s Football: runners-up (lost final to TUT, 1-4 in shootout after 1-1 full-time)
Top scorer: Janice Smith (7 goals)

Men’s Football: semi-finalists
Top scorer: Jaydan Petersen (4 goals)

Cricket: 5th

7s Rugby: 8th
Top try scorer: Rohaan Adams (7 tries)

Netball: 8th

Basketball: 8th

all tournaments suspended due to COVID-19 pandemic

Netball: 8th

Women’s Football winners: beat Tuks in final, 4-3 on penalties after 0-0 full-time)
Winning team: Regirl Ngobeni, Sinegugu Zondi (captain), Simnikiwe Mhlakaza, Antonia Maponya, Zikhona Nogqala, Babalwa Mngxunya, Amogelang Motau, Molatelo Kobo, Tiffany Kortjie, Khanya Xesi, Janice Smith, Bongeka Gamede, Andiswa Mthethwa, Siphosethu Qokama, Tshegofatso Senanya, Phelisa Ncivata. - head coach: Thinasonke Mbuli
Top scorer: Khanya Xesi Top scorer (5 goals)

Netball: 7th

Cricket: 7th

Rugby 7s: beat UFS in Final, 21-19
Winning squad: Nicholas Chipanje, Jason Cloete, Lyle Hendricks, Gino Kemp, Almore Kuilders, Tasriq Mynhardt, Shaine Orderson, Angelo Rudolph, Kyle Thyssen, Aydon Topley, Elkan Willemse, Peter Williams (captain). - coach: Clement Trout

Women’s Football: runners-up (lost final to UJ, 3-5 in shootout after 0-0 full-time)

Netball: 6th

Women’s Football winners: beat UJ 2-0
Winning squad: Siphesihle Dlamini, Thandeka Ngcobo - Njabulo Mtshali, Thimna Mpehle, Lindokuhle Gladile, Sinegugu Zondi (captain), Fikile Magama, Zikhona Nogqala, Lonathemba Mhlongo - Asange Nake, Bonang Mothoeng, Thembelihle Zulu, Katlego Mabuza, Khanyisa Manengela, Bongeka Gamede - Tiffany Kortjie, Nabeelah Galant, Chelsea Daniels, Andiswa Mthethwa.
Head coach: Thinasonke Mbuli

Tournament wins

Varsity Beach Volleyball (4) 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016

Varsity Football (1) 2015

Varsity Women’s Football (2) 2021, 2023

Varsity 7s Rugby (1) 2022

UWC in Varsity Cup/Shield

When FNB Varsity Shield was established in 2011, as a second-tier competition below FNB Varsity Cup, UWC (initially coached by current Springboks assistant Deon Davids) were among the five ‘expansion’ teams.

The first two years saw the boys in blue and gold have to settle for third place (to miss out on the final), but in 2012 Charlton van Jaarsveld was named as the Forward That Rocks while Cheslyn Roberts was in a three-way tie as top try scorer courtesy of his six efforts.

With ex-Springboks coach Peter de Villiers taking the coaching reins in 2013, UWC finished second, but FNB CUT used home ground advantage to get the better of the them in the final, triumphing 29-19. Individually, Freddie Muller finished as the top points scorer (70) and was chosen as the Back That Rocks.

Their form tailed off in 2014 when they finished fourth, before improving to third in 2015 when James Verity-Amm scored a tournament-high 11 tries [which remains a single tournament record].

UDubs’ second-place finish in 2016, when Springboks legend Chester Williams took over from De Villiers, handed them the opportunity of promotion to the Varsity Cup, but Wits scuppered that by winning the final 39-2. Again, in part consolation, UWC supplied the Back That Rocks in Aidynn Cupido.

The boys in blue and gold’s spirit wasn’t broken as they claimed the title in 2017 (when the competition expanded to seven teams), convincingly beating FNB UFH 45-2 in a home final. More significantly, with promotion on the line again in 2018, coach Chester’s boys played a perfect season winning all six round-robin matches before thumping FNB WSU 55-10 in the final to set off celebrations at the Operation Room.

UWC may have finished bottom in their debut Varsity Cup campaign in 2019, but they at least broke the winless season ‘hoodoo’ suffered by previous promoted teams by securing a win against FNB UJ.

The untimely death of Chester Williams in late 2019 rocked more than just the UWC rugby community and it was perhaps unsurprising that the team spluttered in 2020, before the season was curtailed by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The arrival of former Springboks Sevens player and coach Paul Treu (and UWC alumnus) has brought renewed energy to the team. This much was in evidence in a 2021 campaign when they finished sixth and Tinotenda Mavesere claimed the Forward That Rocks award and finishing runner-up in Overall Player That Rocks voting.

Unfortunately, UWC fell foul of the combined 2021-22 log and played in the FNB Varsity Shield in 2023.

It was only to be a one-season stay however, as an unbeaten season saw them top the round-robin log and claim automatic promotion before back-to-back semifinal and final (against neighbours CPUT) wins saw them add silverware to end a fantastic campaign.

Year-by-year round-robin record

2011 8 4 0 4 195 158 +37 19 3rd
2012 8 4 0 4 230 242 -12 21 3rd
2013 8 4 0 4 225 160 +65 21 2nd - lost final to CUT, 29-19
2014 8 3 0 5 199 240 -41 16 4th
2015 8 4 2 2 259 165 +94 24 3rd
2016 8 5 0 3 179 186 -7 24 2nd - lost final to Wits, 2-39
2017 6 5 0 1 274 102 +146 27 1st - beat UFH in final, 45-2
2018 6 6 0 0 331 86 +245 30 1st - beat WSU in final, 55-10
2019 8 1 0 7 198 399 -201 7 9th
2020 5 1 0 4 82 223 -141 5 8th
2021 9 3 1 5 292 292 0 20 6th
2022 9 2 0 7 255 403 -148 13 8th (relegated via combined 2021-22 log) 
2023 7 7 0 0 319 82 237 35 1st (promoted) - beat CPUT in final, 24-18 
*2014, 2016, 2018 and 2022 were promotion/relegation years.

Tournament wins

FNB Varsity Shield (3) 2017, 2018, 2023