- Sep 4, 2013
South Africa’s Varsity Cup competition, contested by the top rugby-playing universities in the country, is set to trial a new Power Play system next year which will allow captains to remove any two nominated backline players from the opposition for a three-minute period.
The Power Play can only be called by a team while in their own half, must be called by the captain, and can only be called once.
If the team whose players have been removed score a try during the Power Play period, they are awarded an extra two points (seven points before the conversion).
Chester Williams, the former Springbok win who helped South Africa win the Rugby World Cup in 1995 who is now a coach at the University of Western Cape, has given the trial his full support.
“The new rule will be good for players, coaches and, most of all, spectators going into next year’s competition, as it keeps the game fresh,” Williams said. “Power Play will really keep the game fluid and allow for some innovative thinking from the coaches. “It will be tactically and strategically challenging for all of the coaches, and will be interesting to see how other coaches react.”
The Varsity Cup has been home to a number of trials in recent years, including the introduction of nine-point tries in 2016, where if a try began between the half-way line and the opponent's 22 - and possession was maintained from start to finish - a team would receive two additional bonus points.
Other experiments in the past have included a ‘free-catch rule’, allowing players to call a mark anywhere on the field any time they caught a kick, while throughout 2014 and 2015 matches featured two referees on the field working in tandem. Last year’s Varsity Cup was won by the University of Pretoria Tuks.