ABSA Currie Cup starts tonight with the first game as Western Province that will take on at the EP Kings at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
This is the oldest tournament in the world and have always been the feeding ground for Springboks. What makes this tournament so special is the way that South African supporters get behind their teams and how we have never really lost that passion.
Filled with history and tradition, the Currie Cup dates back to 1889. The tournament is regarded as the cornerstone of South Africa’s rugby heritage, and the coveted gold trophy remains the most prestigious prize in South African domestic rugby.
The first games were played in 1989 but it only become the official Currie Cup in 1892. Sir Donald Currie owner of Union Castle Lines gave clear instructions to The British Isles that they need to hand over the Golden Cup to the team that game the Lions the best game. Griqualand West became the first holders of the Currie Cup after a narrow loss of 3-0 to the tourist. Griqualand West handed the trophy over to the South African rugby board and it became the floating trophy for the Currie Cup.
The South African Rugby Board was founded in 1889 and it decided to organize a national competition which involved the major unions. The unions that took part in this competition were Western Province, Griqualand West, Transvaal and Eastern Province.
South African’s real premiere spectacle on kicked off in 1968 as an annual national tournament. From when the Currie Cup became an annual competition until the mid-1980 only one team had seriously challenged the supremacy of the Western Province rugby union and that was arch rivals Northern Transvaal.
These days the competition lags well behind Super Rugby and The Rugby Championship (previously the Tri-Nations) in the order of importance for most of South Africa’s top players.
But and this does not matter who you are, for the supporters it is still an important aspect to see their team lift the Currie Cup at the end of the tournament.
One thing is certain, players, coaches and supporters alike still rate the competition as an important part of building the strength of South African rugby.
So starting tonight, get to the stadiums or light the fire and get behind your team….