Netball fans can look forward to another thrilling instalment of Varsity Netball, described by former Proteas Netball coach Elize Kotze as ‘the best thing that has happened to South African netball’. The 2015 tournament has 31 exciting games to look forward to, with 17 selected matches broadcast live on SuperSport 210. Varsity Netball kicks off on 6 September, with last year’s runners-up UP-Tuks (who suffered their only defeat in the final to UFS-Kovsies) going up against UCT, and Maties challenging NMMU Madibaz, both at the Coetzenburg Indoor Centre in Stellenbosch, at 15:00 and 16:30 respectively.
At the Callie Human Hall in Bloemfontein, UJ will play against VUT at 16:30 and later defending champions UFS-Kovsies play against NWU-Puk at 18:00. Both matches will be broadcast live on SuperSport 210. UFS-Kovsies head coach Burta De Kock says: ‘I’m blessed to have almost the same team as last year. They’ve grown up a little and we’re looking forward to yet another amazing season of netball.’
The tournament boasts nine players who have made into the national netball team. This year, no fewer than eight current and past Varsity Netball players were selected for the South African squad for the 2015 Diamond Challenge in Durban. UP-Tuks in particular has a handful of players in the national squad, including 2014 Players’ Player of the Year, Shadine Van Der Merwe.
The popular Power Play rule will be included in this year’s tournament and will last for two minutes (accompanied with fast paced music) at any point in the game. If a team scores during this team it will count two points. Varsity Sport CEO, Duitser Bosman says: ‘Netball’s rapid rise to one of the most popular sports in the country is no surprise, and with over two million female players, it has a growing support base. The number of current and past Varsity Netball players having been selected for the squad representing South Africa at the 2015 Netball World Cup bears testament to how the tournament has helped identify young talent and develop the sport further in South Africa.’ Netball South Africa CEO Blanche De La Guerre says: ‘I’m certain that this season of Varsity Netball will unearth new stars, bring new thrills and encourage fans to be a key part of the experience.’
Photo by: Thys Lombard/VS