The University of Johannesburg is preparing to roll out its “Rugby that Rocks” campaign for the FNB Varsity Cup, presented by Steinhoff International, which starts countrywide this week.
FNB UJ will host four home games during the Monday-night competition and the suburb of Westdene is expected to be awash with orange as supporters fill the 10 000-seater UJ Stadium.
The team kicks off its campaign with an away game against defending champions Tuks but will host FNB Madibaz on home soil on February 10.
UJ sport events manager Niamh Faherty said the made-for-television tournament epitomised everything that a sporting event should be, with fast-paced action on the field and quality entertainment on the sidelines.
“The aim of the games is to get the community and students involved and to give them a fantastic sporting experience,” said Faherty.
“Every year the UJ team builds on the last. There will be epic pyrotechnics, amazing rugby and a show that won’t easily be forgotten.”
She said the “back your boytjies” message was central to the idea of building community pride in the local university team.
“Our efforts are focused on helping them get through to that final, which they have worked so hard for, but this event is not all about rugby.
“It’s about the Pink Shorts campaign, which lets us stand up against women abuse, it’s about the kids who get to watch their heroes up close and personal, and it’s about grabbing an opportunity to experience all of this for two hours every Monday night.”
Faherty said fans would once again have the chance to “back their beauties” as the finalists vied for the Miss Varsity Cup title.
“And of course there are the cheerleaders – I would personally go to the games just to watch the skill and rhythm of this group.
“The UJ cheerleaders always bring it – and with new outfits, new routines and a new sponsor, it’s Samsung UJ all the way.”
She said Hoepie, the official team mascot, would also entertain the crowds with his smooth dance moves while Prof, the Varsity Cup mascot, tried to keep up.
“Prof is never very far from Hoepie; his dance skills are not quite at the same level but Hoepie would never dare take him on at general knowledge!”
Faherty said road closures would again be implemented on match days in conjunction with the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department.
“We’ve done so for the safety and security of the community and spectators and have set up free parking in Kingsway Avenue and a shuttle service to assist the process.”
She said only residents displaying their official 2014 residents’ passes would be able to get through the roadblocks.
“UJ would like to thank the Westdene community for their assistance and we are offering them free tickets to the games as a token of our appreciation for their patience and understanding.”
Faherty said the residents’ passes and free tickets would be available from the UJ Sport Events office and would also be distributed to the surrounding community before the start of the tournament.
The remaining home fixtures are against FNB Wits (February 17 at 5pm), FNB UCT (March 3 at 7pm) and FNB Maties (March 10 at 7pm). Gates open at 4pm.
Tickets cost R20 and are available at all UJ gymnasia and the UJ Unlimited shop. They can also be purchased at the UJ Stadium on match day.
Road closures are in effect from 3pm on Monday afternoon at these intersections: Motor Street and 1st Street, Ararat Street and 1st Street, Lancaster Road and Aberdeen Street, Lewes Road and Motor Street, Ararat Street and Lewes Road, Lewes Road and Tenby South Street, Seymour Street and Thornton Road, Stafford Street and Thornton Road, Park Lane South and Dover Street, Park Lane North and 4th Avenue, Monmouth Road and 4th Avenue, Aberdeen and Warwick Road, Glasgow Road and 4th Avenue, and Maldon Road and Avalanche Street.
The UJ Stadium in Westdene will be awash with orange when the University of Johannesburg presents “Rugby that Rocks” during its Varsity Cup home games in February and March.
Photo: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images
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