The Community Cup kicks off on Saturday, March 8 with eight matches at club venues spread across the length and breadth of the country, from Wellington in the south to Polokwane in the north, and Mossel Bay in the east to Rustenburg in the north-west.
The tournament opener between Despatch and wild cards Spring Rose in Pool A will be televised live on SuperSport from what is expected to be a jam-packed WJ de Wet Stadium in the Eastern Cape town.
In Pool C, title contenders Brakpan, the Falcon champions, travel from the East Rand to the West Coast to play Boland champions Roses United at Pelican Park in Wellington.
Another capacity crowd is expected at the D’Almeida Stadium in Mossel Bay where Barbarians, another of the tournament’s five wild cards, will host Bridgton in an all-SWD affair.
Adding spice to this Southern Cape derby is the fact that Barbarians lost 25-24 to Bridgton in the SWD Premier League final at the neutral venue of George, thanks to a try after the hooter. Barbarians will be hoping that their formidable home-ground advantage will help them to reverse that heartbreaking loss.
“The countdown to the second edition of the Community Cup is now well and truly underway and with just over 100 days to go till kick-off the interest is already building,” said SARU CEO Jurie Roux. “It’s an incredibly demanding tournament and doubly so if you think that none of the 600-odd players who will take part are professional rugby players.
“Teams will be travelling a combined distance of almost 24,000km during the Pool stages, which is an average return trip of 600km for each of the 40 matches that will be played. No other tournament we run covers as much ground or has the potential to leave its mark on so many geographically and culturally diverse communities in such a short period of time.
“For the players it will be an unforgettable experience and a perfect platform to showcase their skills, not only to the crowds that will turn out to watch them, but also to the provincial coaches who will be watching the matches with interest.”
The two highest-placed clubs in each of the four Pools will qualify for the Easter Championship play-offs, to be played once again at Outeniqua Park in George from 17-21 April.