MORE than 1000 students will descend on NMMU from today as the host university attempt to maintain their supremacy in the annual intervarsity. A highlight for many students on their sporting calendar, the weekend has grown from the traditional NMMU-Rhodes showdown to a true Eastern Cape intervarsity, with Fort Hare and Walter Sisulu, from Mthatha, also now part of the programme.
NMMU have proved the ones to beat in recent times and last year claimed the overall title for the fifth successive year.
On their home turf, they will again be difficult to dislodge from the top spot, but that will not stop their rivals from trying to claim the honours.
Rhodes are likely to be their main rivals, but Fort Hare and Walter Sisulu will be dangerous opponents, especially in sports like netball and soccer.
Fort Hare will also be keen to underline their prowess on the rugby field when they take on Rhodes on the D field at 2pm. Last year in Grahamstown, Fort Hare had a tough clash while losing to NMMU, but they should be well-matched against the Rhodians.
In the final rugby clash of the day, NMMU should be too strong for Walter Sisulu. The soccer will also come to a climax tomorrow afternoon when the final is decided. The pressure will be intense from the start, though, because today Rhodes play Walter Sisulu at 2pm, followed by NMMU against Fort Hare.
The losers will meet in the third place play-off tonight at 7pm, while the winners advance to tomorrow’s final with plenty at stake.
The students will be competing in no fewer than 23 different disciplines and besides rugby, volleyball, netball, hockey, golf, surfing, soccer and squash, the students will also vie for honours in ballroom dancing, debating and a moot law court.
Activities will start today at 7.30am with golf at the adjacent Humewood Golf Club and culminate with the main rugby and soccer games at 3.30pm tomorrow.
As the floodlights at NMMU are being replaced, the main stadium will not be available for either the rugby or soccer.
Golf: Humewood Golf Club 7.30am today; hockey: NMMU astro (North Campus) from noon today; basketball: Indoor Sports Centre (ISC, South Campus) from noon today; volleyball: (ISC) from noon today; ballroom dancing: Campus Boma (Main Hall) noon today; pool: Campus Boma 1pm today; squash: North Campus from 1pm today; tennis: South Campus 2pm today; soccer: South Campus (A, B, C and D fields) from 2pm today and 9am tomorrow; swimming: South Campus 2.30 today; athletics: NMMU Stadium entrance 3pm today; water polo: Pearson High 4pm today; surfing: Pipe 8.30am tomorrow; chess: conference centre (South Campus) 9am tomorrow; karate: Boma (South Campus) 9am tomorrow; rowing: Redhouse 9am tomorrow; table tennis: South Campus squash courts from 9am tomorrow; underwater hockey: South Campus pool 10am tomorrow; rugby: men B field from 10am tomorrow, women D field; netball: South Campus outdoor courts from 10am tomorrow