The 2008 FNB Varsity Cup final will always be remembered by those at a packed and sold out Danie Craven Stadium as well as those glued to their television screens. A match that will be known for a very long time as the one where FNB Maties etched their name in the record book by snatching the inaugural FNB Varsity Cup title away from FNB UCT Ikeys.
This rivalry goes back decades and comes this Monday 18 April, it will be this very battle that will replay itself, this time, however, it will be hosted at the UCT Rugby Fields in Cape Town. Bennie Booysen, who captained the FNB Maties not only to their very first title but also the first three, as the men from Stellenbosch held the trophy for the first three years of this 15-year-old competition – 2008-2010.
“Maties rugby had a great influence and positive impact on me as a person and of late on my businesses,” Booysen told Maties Sport in a recent interview. “I have friends that I made through Maties rugby that till today are still my friends and form part of a solid support structure that I value and place in high regard.
“The first Varsity Cup was a very exciting and privileged experience for all involved, as a captain it gives you great pride knowing your team did not give up. Winning in that fashion [after the hooter has gone] is a feeling and experience one fails to explain.”
Let us take a look at what Booysen and his charges are up to these days, since that historic night on 7 April 2008 at the iconic Danie Craven Stadium.
2008 Varsity Cup Final – Maties 16 Ikeys 10
15 Joe Pietersen: A well-travelled and seasoned rugby player, Pietersen was a late call-up in the 2008 final starting lineup. Back in the early days of the FNB Varsity Cup, players would move in and out of the squads as the Super Rugby sides would need them. Pietersen was included in the starting XV after returning from Australasia with the Stormers. He would replace Therlow Pietersen in the fullback jersey. The Stormers & WP veteran who had stints at the Cheetahs, Sharks, Bayonne, Biarritz, and the Kamaishi Seawaves following his FNB Varsity Cup days is currently playing for San Diego Legion in the United States of America’s Major Rugby League competition. He is also heavily invested in nature conservation where he runs a non-profit organisation, called Nkombe Rhino, dedicated to rhino conservation.
14 Hendrik Stoffberg: Very silent and oftentimes minding his own business, Hendrik or Henoe as he was more commonly known and referred to, was one of the FNB Maties’ regular faces in those early dominating years. It was his educated boot that put the Maroon Machine ahead by 5-6 at the halftime break. Stoffberg farms outside Swellendam after graduating from Stellenbosch University in 2008. As recent as 2020 enrolled at the University of Stellenbosch Business School Executive Development Programme (EDP). (Please check the correct naming convention here)
13 Juan de Jongh: Arguably the most notable alumni from this inaugural FNB Varsity Cup-winning squad, the man from Wellington was selected for the squad as a late call-up having returned to South Africa with the Stormers alongside Pietersen. This was de Jongh’s first and only game in the FNB Varsity Cup, after having signed a professional contract at the beginning of 2008 with the Cape Town Super Rugby Franchise. He is the first of 49 FNB Varsity Cup graduates on the list of players who would eventually play for the Springboks, he played 19 Tests for South Africa. Following a five year contract at London side Wasps, de Jongh returned to his beloved Western Province and Stormers at the beginning of the 2021 season.
12 Sarel Potgieter: The elusive and versatile backline player was FNB Maties’ top point scorer in the 2008 season with 55 points, fifth on the overall top points scorers list for the 2008 season. It was Potgieter’s well-timed injury-time pass to speeding Morne Jooste to score the try that snatched victory away from the old foe FNB UCT Ikeys. He moved to Canada in 2016 and was employed as an investment advisor since 2020.
11 Morné Jooste: The hero that sent a 20 000-strong Danie Craven Stadium in an uproar when he dived over in the right corner to set up what would become the winning try with Ricardo Croy’s subsequent successful conversion etching the home side’s name as the very first winners on the FNB Varsity Cup trophy. Jooste, who comes from a family with a great rugby pedigree and history, holds the South African club rugby record for the most consecutive hat-tricks – five – ever, this during his time at Rustenburg Impala. He is the son of former Springbok convenor of selector and Tygerberg Rugby Union legend, Pieter Jooste.
10 Ricardo Croy: Like Jooste, Croy comes from a family with a strong rugby heritage in non-racial rugby. The flyhalf only played two games for Maties, but it was his conversion in the 83rd minute in that 2008 final that will be remembered by many for decades to come. Croy played for Boland, Pumas, SWD and was part of the South Africa President’s XV who won the IRB Tsibili Cup in 2013.
9 Wilhelm Koch: The nippy but very robust scrum half scored two tries during the 2008 season, but it was his impeccable service from the base of the ruck that allowed the talented and deadly FNB Maties backline to be unleashed and ran in 36 tries during the very first season of the FNB Varsity Cup. Koch would go on to play for SWD and the Leopards following the 2008 FNB Varsity Cup tournament before hanging up his boots in 2012. He is currently a private banker with Investec Bank.
8 Bennie Booysen (captain): The very first captain to lift the FNB Varsity Cup amassed over 200 caps for the Maroon Machine since his debut back in 2001. He would play representative rugby for the Western Province Sevens and amateur side, as well as Boland amateur. He retired in 2011 and is currently farming wine grapes in Stellenbosch and sheep in Williston, Northern Cape. He has his own wine label and makes wine under the Grondpad brand.
7 Jonathan Adendorf: One of the toughest players that appeared for the Maties in that 2008 season, Kraai as he is affectionately known played for Maties from 2008 to 2010, making him part of Chean Roux’s champion squad. Adendorf briefly played for the Pumas during the 2011 season, playing five matches before heading to Kimberley and establishing himself there, in 2012. He is still currently contracted to the Griquas Union having played a staggering 83 matches for the Kimberley side.
6 Zandré Jordaan: A product of Boishaai in Paarl, Jordaan played in five matches for Maties in the 2008 FNB Varsity Cup tournament. He joined Boland ahead of the 2009 season, where he was contracted until 2014 playing 74 times for the Western Cape side. He returned to Boland in 2016 after playing one season, in 2015, for the SWD Eagles. His second stint at Boland lasted until 2019 when he was capped 48 times taking his total number of appearances for Boland to 122. He joined up with most of the 2008 Maties squad when he signed with Griquas ahead of the 2019 season.
5 Jaco Nepgen: The lanky lock was one of the core Maties’ teams that dominated the first two seasons of the Varsity Cup, Nepgen ranks at nearly 2 metres and made 15 appearances for the Maroon Machine. In 2010, like most Maties players, Nepgen joined Kimberley based side, Griquas and played a staggering 89 times for the Griquas. He retired from professional rugby at the end of 2016 following the advice of doctors to call it a halt on a very memorable career. He was appointed the Deputy Principal – Sports Development at Nico Malan High School in Humansdorp in 2020.
4 Erich Laubscher: The second-rower went on to graduate with an MPhil in Development Finance and is currently the Finance Director at Aarbei, an online FMCG marketing platform.
3 Jacobie Adriaanse: The tighthead prop and brother of Springbok front ranker, Lourens, played in every match of the 2008 FNB Varsity Cup season. Jacobie is currently working in the FMCG industry as a sales representative after finishing an illustrious 11-year professional career with the Lions, Bulls, Griquas, Southern Kings, Scarlets and French Top 14 team Montpellier. Adriaanse amassed over 50 caps for Wales side Scarlets.
2 Lisle Clark: Clark is currently the CEO of the carbonated soft drink company, Twizza. After featuring for the Maties team in the WP club rugby league he was called up to the WP U21 squad. A career-ending injury forced Clark to retire very early in his rugby career, the B.Accounting Honours graduate joined the family business as the CEO in 2015.
1 Johan Roets: The ever silent ‘sniper’, as he was known by some, played Varsity Cup for Maties during 2008-2010 including representing Boland in the Currie Cup during the 2009 season. In 2011 he turned out for French Top 14 club, Montpellier in France. He finished off his playing days in Ireland after playing club rugby for two years in 2012 and 2013. He is currently working in Somerset Wes at MasterMaths.
15 Rob Hopwood, 14 Marcello Sampson, 13 James Martin, 12 Pieter Engelbrecht, 11 Mat Turner, 10 Matt Rosslee, 9 Danie van der Merwe, 8 JJ Gagiano (captain), 7 Mzothando Simani, 6 Enoch Panya, 5 Martin Muller, 4 Michael Ledwidge, 3 Dylan Rogers, 2 John Peter Koster, 1 Herbie Mayosi.
16 Mark Goosen, 17 Wesley Chetty, 18 Dane Galley, 19 Kyle Brown, 20 Kyle Wickins, 21 Tim Whitehead, 22 Peter Haw.
Image Credit: Anton Jordaan SCPS