The FNB Madibaz rugby had their first exposure to the new Varsity Cup power play rule when they kicked off their on-field training against Stellenbosch in George last weekend.
With their first match against University of Cape Town in Port Elizabeth on February 5, the Nelson Mandela University team are hard at work preparing for the season.
The power play rule is the latest innovation in the competition and will require some unusual tactics during the matches.
The rule will allow the team calling the power play to remove any two nominated backline players from the opposition side for three minutes.
A team can only call a power play while they are in their own half of the field. It must be called by the captain and can be done only once.
If the team whose players have been removed score a try during the power play period, it will be worth seven points instead of five.
Madibaz coach David Maidza said the weekend’s game had been a useful outing, but they were still considering their options.
“In reality, we are still working on the systems that will best suit the group,” he said.
He added the Varsity Cup competition had a tradition of trying out innovations.
“At first, experimental rules might lead to situations that won’t suit conservatives like me,” he said. “But in the end such rules have become the norm in Varsity Cup.
“I hope this will be the case with the power play rule.”