Gold Cup enters international territory
September 22, 2016
History will be made on Saturday when the Gold Cup – SA Rugby’s national championship for non-university clubs – takes its first international strides with matches being staged concurrently in three different countries.

Western Province champions DirectAxis False Bay and Limpopo title-holders Northam Platinum Rhinos will have the honour of playing the first-ever Gold Cup matches outside of South Africa when they travel to Harare and Windhoek respectively to take on Old Georgians and FNB Wanderers.

“The Gold Cup is on everyone’s lips and this year’s tournament has thrust club rugby firmly back into the national consciousness,” said SA Rugby CEO, Jurie Roux.

“We had over 6,000 people attend this year’s opening match in Worcester, while the viewership figures in the three televised matches so far have been excellent and a ringing endorsement of the appeal of club rugby among the rugby-loving public.

“There is great anticipation in Namibia and Zimbabwe ahead of Saturday’s matches, with a lot of interest being shown by media and fans. This is an historic step forward into Africa for the Gold Cup brand but also club rugby in general.”

Injury-hit False Bay must travel over 2,500km to Harare must beat Old Georgians there to keep their quarter-final hopes alive after losing 26-19 to Valke champions, Siyaya Brakpan, at Bosman Stadium last Saturday. In Pool C’s other match-up, SA Home Loans Durban Collegians, who lost to False Bay in round one, will need to overcome Brakpan if they hope to emerge from the so-called ‘group of death’.

The match, which will take place at Kings Park 2 in Durban, will be handled by none other than 2011 Rugby World Cup final referee Craig Joubert.

“A few years ago, the chances of a Craig Joubert refereeing a club game were slim. Now our top referees are getting involved at this level and it can only bring benefits for all concerned,” said Roux.

Meanwhile in Pool A, KZN champions Your Communications College Rovers travel to the northern Free State to take on their namesakes, Tiger Wheel & Tyre Welkom Rovers, having opened their Gold Cup account with a 53-10 win over OneLogix United Bulk Worcester Villagers in torrential conditions in Durban last week.

In Pool B, the Golden Lions’ top non-university club, Pirates, will be looking for a third straight win – and most likely a place in the quarter-finals – when they fly to George to take on RSK Evergreens at the Pacaltsdorp Sports Ground. For Evergreens, victory is non-negotiable having lost there last weekend to 2014 Gold Cup champions and last year’s runners-up, Rustenburg Impala.

And in Pool D, two eagerly-awaited Police derbies are on the menu, with Pretoria Police – 40-24 victors over their PE counterparts at Loftus Versfeld last weekend – travelling to the Free State capital to take on the Bloemfontein Bobbies. In the other match, East London Police, who lost 30-18 at home to Belaz Sishen in their Gold Cup debut last week, are under pressure as they prepare to travel to Nelson Mandela Bay for what is likely to be another hard-fought Eastern Cape Police derby against their PE arch-rivals.

Round 2 results:

Pool A: Tiger Wheel & Tyre Welkom Rovers 24-32 Durbanville-Bellville Your Communications College Rovers 53-10 OneLogix United Bulk Worcester Villagers

Pool B:
Pirates 51-24 Northam Platinum Rhinos
RSK Evergreens 10-29 Rustenburg Impala

Pool C:
Siyaya Brakpan 26-19 DirectAxis False Bay
SA Home Loans Durban Collegians 36-17 White River

Pool D:
East London Police 18-30 Belaz Sishen
Pretoria Police 40-24 Don’s Pawn Shop PE Police

Round 3 fixtures (all matches at 15h30 on Saturday 24 September):

Pool A:
Mike Pendock Motors Old Selbornians v OneLogix United Bulk Worcester Villagers (Mike Pendock Motors Park, East London)
Tiger Wheel & Tyre Welkom Rovers v Your Communications College Rovers (Rovers Rugby Club, Welkom)

Pool B:
FNB Wanderers Windhoek v Northam Platinum Rhinos (Wanderers Rugby Club, Windhoek)
RSK Evergreens v Pirates (Pacaltsdorp Sports Ground, George)

Pool C:
Old Georgians v DirectAxis False Bay (Old Georgians Club, Harare)
SA Home Loans Durban Collegians v Siyaya Brakpan (KP2, Kings Park, Durban)

Pool D:
Don’s Pawn Shop PE Police v East London Police (Kemsley Park, Port Elizabeth)
Bloemfontein Police v Pretoria Police (Bobbies Park, Bloemfontein)

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