Rugby | UKZN Impi won't appeal Varsity Cup ruling

Pietermaritzburg  – A lack of funds means that the UKZN Impi have to swallow a bitter pill and not appeal the decision that saw their chance of promotion to the top flight of the competition taken away.

When the Varsity Cup recently dismissed charges against Pukke that they fielded an ineligible player throughout the season, it brought the curtain down on a controversial case that had threatened to see the University of the North West lose their status as Varsity Cup champions.

According to the findings, prop Bart le Roux, who had previously played for the UKZN Impi, but had subsequently registered as a first-year player with Pukke, was indeed a first-year student because Le Roux had registered for a Certificate in Business Administration (CBA).

Independent chairperson Advocate Stelzner SC found the CBA was not a course at UKZN, given that it did not form part of the university’s Programme and Qualification Mix (PQM) as approved by the Department of Higher Education and Training, and accordingly did not contain a South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) ID and was not a credit-bearing course.

A Varsity Cup statement said: “It would be more accurate to describe the CBA as a ‘short’ course offered to corporate candidates or delegates wanting to gain entry into UKZN’s BBA degree programme and run by a separate corporate entity which may be affiliated to the university.”

Le Roux “would thus have been playing as one of the three ‘non-student’ players for UKZN in the 2014 Varsity Shield, as permitted in terms of the 2014 competition rules,” a Varsity Cup statement read.

The decision on Le Roux was reached a month after a hearing was supposed to be held in early May. The Varsity Cup final was played on April 11.

UKZN, who were in line to contest the FNB Varsity Shield final against Wits University, found themselves out of the title-decider and a potential place in the 2017 FNB Varsity Cup, when they were penalised 12 points for playing Kerron van Vuuren, who had previously been briefly registered as a first-year student at the University of Johannesburg.

UKZN Rugby Club chairperson Nic Haswell indicated that he wished the UKZN Rugby Club had the finances to fight that decision, but said UKZN accepted it.

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