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Gold Cup Qualifying Fixtures Confirmed


GARDENS Rugby Club of Uitenhage grabbed the final spot in this weekend’s Gold Cup qualifying play-offs when they recorded an historic first-ever EP Grand Challenge title on Wednesday night.

Worcester 2

Photo: Petri Oeschger/Gallo Images

Gardens beat Port Elizabeth Harlequins 27-13 in front of 3,000 spectators at the Central Ground in Uitenhage to ensure they are just two play-off matches away from representing Eastern Province in SA Rugby’s three-nation championship for non-university clubs, which kicks off on 10 September.

All rugby roads in the Eastern Cape will lead to the DP Ferreira Stadium in Rosedale on Saturday afternoon when Gardens host arch-rivals East London Police, who finished top of the Border Super League, in one of four Gold Cup play-off knockout matches scheduled across the country for 15h00.

Vaal Reefs will host newly-crowned Limpopo champions Potgietersrus in Klerksdorp; Blue Bulls Carlton Cup champions Matleng Centurion will welcome Wesbank of Boland; and in Durban, Your Communications College Rovers will continue their Gold Cup rivalry of recent years against Raiders of Johannesburg.

The eight play-off teams are seeded according to the final provincial rankings from the 2015 Community Cup – as the Gold Cup was known then. The format is straight knockout, with the four winners from this weekend playing against each other in two matches next Saturday, 27 August. The two surviving sides will take their places in Pools A and D of the Gold Cup proper.

“When 3,000 people come out on a cold Wednesday night to watch club rugby in a working-class town like Uitenhage you just know there’s something special brewing around community rugby,” said SA Rugby CEO, Jurie Roux. “Last weekend we had a full house at Outeniqua Park in George for the SWD final and that wasn’t even the biggest crowd of the weekend.

“Boland Park saw 9970 people attend the Worcester derby between Villagers and Young Hamiltons and this trend of people flocking back to club rugby is being seen all across the country. The Gold Cup will kick off in three weeks’ time and and it’s then that the wider rugby public will hopefully see just how much the club game has bounced back in the last few years.”

The Gold Cup kicks off on 10 September, with 20 clubs once again competing in a Rugby World Cup-style format consisting of eight pool matches per week for five weeks up until 8 October. The top two from each group will progress to the quarter-finals a week later. All knockout matches, including the televised semi-finals (22 October) and grand final (29 October) will be hosted at participating clubs.

The rugby-mad Boland town of Worcester will host the televised opening match of the tournament when OneLogix United Bulk Worcester Villagers – at 133 years, the oldest club in the Gold Cup having been founded in 1883 – host Tiger Wheel & Tyre Welkom Rovers in Pool A. The match will be broadcast live on SuperSport 1 & HD, kicking off at 14h45.

Road to the Gold Cup – Raiders


Raiders of Johannesburg strengthened their hopes of qualifying for this year’s Gold Cup international championship for non-university clubs with a thrilling 28-22 victory over Wanderers at the Bill Jardine Stadium last weekend.

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - FEBRUARY 16 2013, Tthe Gold Cup before match 1 of the Cell C Community Cup rugby match between Jonsson College Rovers and GAP Despatch held at Kings Park 3 in Durban..Photo by Rogan Ward, ImageSA

Photo by Rogan Ward, ImageSA

Two tries apiece from wings Dean Gordon and Zunaid Kock ensured that the Longdale-based side moved to the top of the Golden Lions’ Pirates Grand Challenge after two rounds, ahead of Wanderers, UJ and the Union’s Gold Cup representative, Pirates.

Raiders, who finished 11th in last year’s Community Cup – as the Gold Cup was known then – must finish the league as the highest-placed non-university club to qualify for the Gold Cup play-offs in August, which will decide the final two places in the 20-team tournament that also includes, for the first time, the best open clubs from Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Should Raiders qualify, they will find themselves in either Pool A or D alongside some of the reigning provincial champions from the 14 provincial unions plus Limpopo.

“It’s clear even at this early stage of the season that clubs across the country are going all-out to qualify for the Gold Cup and the result is competitive leagues and high-quality performances just below the provincial level,” said SA Rugby CEO, Jurie Roux.

“Club rugby has come on in leaps and bounds since the advent of the Community Cup just three short years ago and we are confident that the Gold Cup era will help continue that upward curve.

“A year ago, Garth April was helping Durbanville-Bellville win the Gold Cup and this week he is about to start his first Vodacom Super Rugby match for the Cell C Sharks in New Zealand. There are many more Garth Aprils out there and we will strive to do all we can to provide platforms so that they are not lost in the system.”

The Gold Cup will kick off on Saturday, 10 September, with the 20 clubs once again competing in a Rugby World Cup-style format, with five weeks of pool stages up until 8 October and the top two from each group progressing to the quarter-finals a week later. All knockout matches, including the semi-finals (22 October) and grand final (29 October) will be hosted at participating clubs.

Sixteen clubs are already confirmed for the season-ending tournament, including current Namibian Premier League log-leaders FNB Wanderers Windhoek. Zimbabwe’s qualifier will be decided on 11 June, with Harare-based Old Georgians and Old Hararians currently setting the early pace in the Northern league.

The race for the remaining two qualifier slots will be contested by those clubs who finish the 2015 league season as the top non-university club in their province, having not done so in 2015. The qualifiers will be played on 20 and 27 August, with the Gold Cup kicking off a fortnight later with a televised opening match.


Pools for 2016 Gold Cup confirmed


A fierce Western Cape derby awaits defending champions Durbanville-Bellville after SA Rugby on Thursday confirmed the pool draw for this year’s Gold Cup national championships for non-university clubs.

2015 Community Cup young player of the year, Garth April
2015 Community Cup young player of the year, Garth April

`                                                                                                                                                                                                           Photo: Roger Sedres/ImageSA

Durbell, who beat Rustenburg Impala 31-30 in last year’s Community Cup final to cap a fairytale campaign which they had begun as the 20th ranked team, are ranked first for the inaugural Gold Cup and will be joined in Pool A by Boland champions Villagers Worcester, Border title-holders Old Selbornians (who beat Durbell in the pool stages last year), and the Griffons’ number-one club, Welkom Rovers.

Impala are ranked second and face a tough Pool B campaign having been drawn against newcomers Pirates (Golden Lions), double SWD champions Pacaltsdorp Evergreens and new Limpopo victors Northam Rhinos. The pool has an international flavour in the form of Windhoek Wanderers, who have been nominated by the Namibian Rugby Union to be that country’s first representative in what has become a Southern African club tournament.

Debutants Direct Axis False Bay of Western Province head up an intriguing Pool C, which also includes double KZN league champions SA Home Loans Durban Collegians, new Mpumalanga title-holders White River – who last played in the 2013 Community Cup – and the Valke champions, who must still be confirmed. The pool also has an African feel to it with Zimbabwe’s representatives, who will be decided in June following national play-offs in Harare and Bulawayo, rounding out the five-team group 

Pool D is a veritable ‘Battle of the Bobbies’, with no less than three Police teams drawn against each other. In what amounts to a tournament within a tournament, Port Elizabeth Police (EP) will face their Pretoria (Blue Bulls) and Bloemfontein (Free State) colleagues in a group that also includes perennial Griquas champions Sishen.

As per the tournament rules, the pool draw is determined by the final rankings of the previous year’s national tournament, in this case the 2015 Community Cup.

The remaining two qualifier slots will be decided by 2016’s provincial leagues, with those teams who finish as the best open clubs in their leagues this year, having not done so in 2015, playing off for the last two Gold Cup slots on 20 and 27 August. These two qualifiers will become the fifth and final teams in Pools A and D respectively.

The Gold Cup will kick off on Saturday, 10 September, with 20 clubs once again competing in a Rugby World Cup-style format, with five weeks of pool stages and the top two from each group progressing to the knockout stages. The tournament will feature 47 matches in all.

In a departure from the Easter weekend play-off format which was a hallmark of the Community Cup era, the quarter-finals, semi-finals and the Cup final itself will be hosted by participating clubs.

2016 Gold Cup Pools:

Pool A:

Durbanville-Bellville (defending champion, Western Province)

Villagers Worcester (2015 Boland champion)

Old Selbornians (2015 Border champion)

Welkom Rovers (2015 Griffons champion)


Pool B:

Rustenburg Impala (top Leopards non-university club in 2015)

Pirates (top Golden Lions non-university club in 2015)

Evergreens (2015 SWD champion)

Northam Rhinos (2015 Limpopo Blue Bulls champion)

Windhoek Wanderers (top Namibian non-university club in 2015)

Pool C:

False Bay (top WP non-university club in 2015)

Durban Collegians (2015 KZN champion)

White River (2015 Mpumalanga champion)

Valke – team to be confirmed

Zimbabwe – team to be decided on 11 June

Pool D:

Port Elizabeth Police (nominated by Eastern Province)

Pretoria Police (top Blue Bulls non-university club in 2015)

Bloemfontein Police (top Free State non-university club in 2015)

Sishen (2015 Griquas champion)


Issued by SARU Corporate Affairs