Numzans at the Cape Town Tens

The Numzans – the UKZN alumni rugby team – have returned as winners of the Veterans Bowl in the Cape Town Tens, the world’s largest rugby tournament with 96 teams competing.

The acronym Numzan stands for Natal University Maritzburg Alumni, and all team members played Varsity Rugby in the 1980s or early 1990s, including the likles of Mark Schulze, Udo and Frank Goedeke, Ryan Strudwick and a host of others. The sizable Numzans squad boasted a wealth of experience, including a handful of former SuperRugby players and some nomads who played on the IRB Sevens circuit many years ago.

The Numzans have been involved in the Veterans section of the Cape Town 10s since the inception of the Tens in 2009 (when they placed third). In 2010 the Numzans held the World Legends (Tana Umaga, Rob Fleck, Tim Horan, Leon Lloyd, Jason Little) to a 24-26 scoreline, and in 2011 were awarded "best dressed" team for their “formalwear” on Fancy Dress Friday (1970s style safari suits, complete with long socks and combs!).

Since 2010 the Numzans have been involved in annual titanic battles with the World Legends, often giving them their toughest game of the tournament. 2012 was no different, and the raucous support of the Numzan supporters in loincloths and Zulu skins ensured that the 2012 Numzans walked away with the "Gees" prize, awarded to the team with the most spirit.

This year the Numzans beat False Bay in their opening game before losing 15-0 to the World Legends team - featuring former Wales captain Colin Charvis, England heros Paul Volley Josh Lewsey (the 2003 World Champion), and Chris Sheasby (a RWC Sevens World Cup winner), as well as Springbok stars Breyton Paulse, Bob Skinstad and Stefan Terreblanche, in Friday night’s main game. This was the closest scoreline the Legends were held to all weekend, and a number of them commented that it was their hardest game of the tournament - harder than the final which they won.

The Numzan’s loss to the Legends consigned the UKZN alumni to the Bowl division, which they won in style, beating Old Dale (featuring ex-UKZN player and France international Steve Hall) in the quarter-final, Amarax in the semi-final, and ex-Springbok Philip Smit's Gauteng team in the final.

Tournament director and ex-Varsity player, Ron Rutland commented on the special bond and spirit the Numzans bring to the Cape Town Tens. "Being part a team is something particularly meaningful in rugby, and the camaraderie that it creates knows no bounds. It’s this spirit, which has always been in abundance in varsity rugby that underpins the already legendary Numzans. The stories, the laughter, the banter, the memories, and even some of the rugby, shared between 40 guys, most over 40, some who hadn’t seen each other in 15 years, and almost certainly hadn’t played rugby together in just as long, continues to epitomise the Cape Town Tens."

Jos Robson