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12 April 2019 | Story Ruan Bruwer | Photo Varsity Cup
Vishuis
Vishuis will be trying to win their overall seventh Varsity hostel title on Monday.

Managing his players is of the utmost importance if the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Abraham Fischer Residence (Vishuis) is to claim a fourth straight and seventh overall national hostel title, says Zane Botha, head coach of the hostel team at the UFS.

The Varsity Hostel competition, which will be taking place in Stellenbosch, has been drastically shortened to only three days of rugby because Steinhoff has withdrawn their sponsorship.

If Vishuis makes it to the final, they will play three matches in four days.
They will face the Kovacs of the University of the Western Cape (UWC) on Friday 12 March 2019, followed by the semi-final on Saturday and the final on Monday. The final will take place at 14:00 and will be broadcast live on SuperSport.

“This will be new territory for us. We will have to make good tactical decisions; it won’t be possible for a prop to play for 70 minutes in all three encounters,” said Botha, who is in his third year with the hostel.

The team played three warm-up matches, which they won convincingly. We still have the core of last year’s team, together with some exciting youngsters.
Botha explained that they kept to their strategy of working harder than anyone else on the practice field and during matches. In last year’s final, Vishuis defeated Patria of the North-West University by 55-29, which was the biggest winning margin in the 11 years of the competition. Vishuis walked away with the crown in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

News Archive

Breeding of unique game requires a balance between conservation and sustainable use
2014-05-20

 

Game bred for qualities such as unconventional hair colour or horn quality, may on the long term have unexpected consequences for biodiversity and game farming.

This is according to the inaugural lecture of Prof Paul Grobler from the Department of Genetics at the University of the Free State (UFS).

Prof Grobler feels that the consequences of selective breeding should be examined carefully, as there is currently much speculation on the subject without sound scientific information to back it.

“At the moment, colour variation invokes much interest among game farmers and breeders. Unusual colour variants are already available in different game species. These unusual animals usually fetch much higher prices at auctions compared to prices for the ‘normal’ individuals of the species.”

Examples of these unusual variants are springbuck being bred in white, black or copper colours, the black-backed or ‘saddleback’ impala, and the gold-coloured and royal wildebeest.

A black-backed impala was recently sold for R5,7 million.

“Based on genetic theory, good reason exists why these practices need to be monitored, but one should also take care not to make the assumption that selective breeding will inevitably lead to problems,” warns Prof Grobler.

Grobler says that negative characteristics in a species can sometimes unwittingly be expressed during the selection process for a unique colour. “It is seen, for example, in purebred dogs where the breeding of a new race sometimes brings underlying genetic deviations in the species to the front.” He also believes that some of these animals may not be able to adapt to changing environmental conditions.

“However, one should also look at the positive side: because of the good demand for game, including unusual variants, there is much more game in South Africa today than in many decades. Balance should be found between the aims of conservation and the sustainable utilisation of game.”

Research at the UFS’s Department of Genetics is now trying to establish the genetic effects of intensive game breeding and predict the impact on biodiversity.

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