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03 October 2018 | Story UFS | Photo Varsity Sports
First ever netball final in Bloemfontein
The Kovsies will be aiming to lift the Varsity Netball trophy in front of their home supporters on Monday when they face Tuks in the final in the Callie Human Centre.

The netball team of the University of the Free State, once again after five years, earned themselves the right to stage a final in the Varsity Netball competition. The two-time champion, the Dream Team, qualified for the final after topping the log and then wiping the floor with the Maties on Monday (1 October 2018) in the semi-final. The score was 56-45. 

They will come up against Tuks in the Callie Human Centre on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus for the final tonight. The match will get underway at 18:45.

The team won the very first two years of the competition in 2013 and 2014. On both occasions, they had to play away from home – in 2013 against the Pukke in Potchefstroom and in 2014 against Tuks in Pretoria. 

It will be the fourth meeting between the Kovsies and Tuks within three months. The Free State students won the group fixture in August by 68-43, but Tuks had to do without a number of their star players. At the University Sport South Africa tournament in Bloemfontein during July, Tuks triumphed twice, winning the final by 48-30.

Apart from the winners’ medals, an award will be handed to the tournament’s top player. Centre Khanyisa Chawane is one of three finalists. The winner gets chosen through public votes.

Dream Team players have won the prize four of the five times. Ané Botha was crowned in 2013, Karla Pretorius in 2014 and 2015, and last year it was the turn of current Kovsie player, Khomotso Mamburu.

To vote for Chawane, click here hover your mouse over the like button and choose the heart emoticon. Voting is closing on 5 October and the winner will be announced after the final.

News Archive

Many changes for Shimlas, says new captain
2016-01-25

 Description: 2016 Shimla Neil Claassen Tags: 2016 Shimla Neil Claassen
The versatile forward, Neil Claassen, will lead the Shimlas onto the field in the 2016 Varsity Cup. Photo: Johan Roux.

The University of the Free State (UFS) has a new group of rugby players, a new head coach, and a new captain.

This is how the Shimla skipper, Neil Claassen, summed up his team's approach to the 2016 Varsity Cup.

Although the UFS will start the tournament as defending champions, the 23-year-old Claassen believes that much has changed since 2015.

One of which is his appointment. The flanker, who can play lock as well, was recently appointed as Varsity Cup captain in his third series.

The former Springbok flanker, Hendro Scholtz, took over as head coach from Franco Smith, who is now the Cheetahs trainer. Mac Masina, former centre for the Lions, is a new assistant coach.

New year with more pressure

Because of all the changes, Claassen feels that the Shimlas will need a different approach to the 2016 tournament.

“There will definitely be more attention on us (as champions). However, the guys in the camp see it as a new year,” he said.

“There is pressure, but we don't focus on that too much.”

Previous leaders set example

According to Claassen, he has never before led a team for which he played.

“I didn't expect to be captain,” the former pupil of Paarl Gymnasium said.

“This is something new. I have played with good leaders like AJ (Coertzen) and Oupa (Mohoje) before, and will take forward what I have learned from them.”

He also believes that there are several senior players, such as the vice-captain, Pieter-Steyn de Wet, who will assist him in his leadership role.

Back from injury

Claassen has played Currie Cup, Vodacom Cup, U21 and U19 rugby for the Free State.

However, a knee injury kept him out of action for nine months and he missed the last three Varsity Cup matches of 2015.

He returned for a training match against the University of Johannesburg in Kroonstad on 23 January 2016. The Shimlas also played a warm-up match against the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Bethlehem on 16 January 2016.

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