Sitting in front of the television at half-past two waiting for the big match to start…
Bugsbunny shares his love and affiliation for the oldest domestic competition in the world.
My Dad’s got his Brandy in the one hand with his other reserved for the finger-pointing. Because the ref that’s going to blow today is that idiot that gave the game away last week with a penalty which was definitely not a penalty, well not in my Dad’s book anyway.
We were told before hand that we need to sit down, not jump in front of the Television and not ask stupid questions while the game is on, you can do it afterwards. We all have our WP knitted jersey’s on, (in those days there were not supports kit like today). My mom is also sitting there. Being married to rugby mad husband and five boys who sees this even more religious as Church and Sunday school, my poor old mother had no choice in the matter but she learned to love it.
The swearing was just not on. But it was very easy, WP win the game, no swearing at the ref or other team’s players, but losing the game, my mom know that she is going to have six angry WP supporters. After the match we would analyze the game better than Naas can to today, or so we would have think, but that was the typical rugby family’s ritual on a Saturday.
We did not grow up with Super 12’s or 14 or even see much of our beloved Springboks. So Test match rugby was the Currie Cup. That was where the top players in our country played and after each year’s Final a Springbok team would be put together even though there was nobody that came to play against them or invited us to play in there country.
So what makes the Currie Cup the one trophy player and supporter wants to win? Why is it so important to win this Cup and drink beer out of it after you have won it? It is actually very easy to understand.
The Currie Cup is about your team and the tradition that is attached to it. Just the feeling that people like Doc Craven amongst other heroes of ours has touched that Cup.
Oom Frik Du Preez has drunk beer with his teammates out of that cup. Over 77 captains have lifted this trophy and it changed there life’s when they did.
Is it still relevant to day in this professional era were there is World Cup’s, Tri Nations and Grand Slams to be won? Has the Super 14 take away the prestige of the oldest provincial tournament in the world? Do we still sit nervous in your living room and shout at the ref when you think he is an idiot and made the wrong call? Do you still phone your friends or families to parade on there lost and tell them how kak there team is?
If your answer is yes, then it certainly means something for you, and if it means something to you how much does it mean for a player to lift that trophy and parade around then field with it? This coming weekend is again that time of the year.
The Absa Currie Cup is one of the highlights on the South African calendar each year and it has been for over a 100 years. Next week Saturday we will see the two top teams in South Africa again fighting it out to be crown the best provincial team in South Africa.
South Africa already achieves what no other country has done before and will struggle to do in the future by having a trophy cabinet with The World Cup, Tri Nations Trophy, Super 14 Trophy and British and Irish Lions tour Trophy. With that goes the raking of number one in the World as a team.
This achievement cannot be achieved without the structures of the Currie Cup. It is something everyone who plays the game wants to achieve, even World Cup winner players (remember Os du Randt in 2006?).
A player like Brian Habana who has won two Super rugby trophies and a World Cup has not won the Currie Cup. He wants this more than anything as it was said through the papers. Maybe the reason why the Currie Cup is so highly regard by us all is because in the apartheid era, it was the only thing we had in our sport.
With no international teams coming to our country we were the Kings of the world in our own backyard. Many believe that the Currie cup has lost it’s meaning with the Bok Players playing so much international rugby these day’s but it is actually the total opposite where players and supporters gearing each other up to win the highest price in South African rugby.
The Currie Cup dates back to 1889 and is the oldest rugby competition in the world.
The tournament is regarded as the cornerstone of South African History and to win this golden trophy is still regarded as the most prestigious prize in South African rugby. The competition had its humble beginnings as inter-town competition that started in 1884, but when the South African Rugby Board was establish in 1889, it decided to make this a national competition with the major unions that will be involved.
The unions that were involved were WP, Griqualand West, Transvaal and Eastern Province. The first tournament was held in Kimberley and WP won it. As prize they received a Silver Cup that was donated by SA Rugby Board which is in the SA Rugby Museum in Cape Town today.
When the first overseas team to tour South Africa stepped ashore in 1891 they carried with them a particularly precious bit of cargo. Among the bags, boots and balls was a golden cup given to the British Isles squad by Sir Donald Currie, owner of Union-Castle Lines, the shipping company that transported them to the southern tip of Africa.
The gold trophy was donated by Sir Donald Currie in 1891 before the arrival of the touring British Isles team. Sir Donald was clear with his instructions – hand this trophy over to the team in South Africa that gives you the best game and after a spirited display, Griqualand West became the first ever holders of the Currie Cup.
To this day the trophy remains the holy grail of South African rugby. They (Griquas) then donated the trophy to the rugby board, and it became the prize for the Currie Cup competition.
Local unions battled for the Currie Cup’s Silver Trophy from 1892 for almost a decade before an annual competition was establish. After years of occasional tournaments, dominated by WP, South African’s premiere provincial spectacle kicked off in 1968.
That year the Blue Bulls of Northern Transvaal, spearheaded by the legendary Frik Du Preez trampled there neighbours Transvaal 16-3 in the Final. Since the Currie Cup became an annual competition only one team has seriously challenge the Bulls supremacy- arch rivals WP. Wild parties broke out all over Cape Town when WP thrashed Northern Transvaal 24-7 in the 1982 final to kick start their own golden age.
This weekend, sees the very same Blue Bulls amidst their own golden era, host the Cheetahs at Loftus. Let the games begin!
Overall winners of the Currie Cup:
WP -32, Blue Bulls-22, Lions-9, Sharks-5, Cheetahs-4, Griques-3, Border-2
So my question: Is the Currie Cup still the premiere competition in South Africa?
Well for me it is it brings new players like Henrich Brussow, Pierre Spies, Schalk Burger and John Smith to be seen for what they are and how they can better Springbok rugby.
Long life the Currie Cup!!