All roads lead to Rustenburg for Gold Cup Final
October 28, 2016
THE Gold Cup – SA Rugby’s three-nation championship for non-university clubs – will reach its climax in the Platinum Belt on Saturday when Rustenburg hosts what is expected to be a titanic north v south Final between home side Impala and Western Province champions DirectAxis False Bay.

The match, which takes place at the Impala Club, kicks off at 15h30 and will be televised live on Supersport channel 201. The referee is Jaco van Heerden.

Impala – the 2014 winners and last year’s runners-up when the tournament was still known as the Community Cup – qualified for their third straight final when they overcame Valke champions Siyaya Brakpan 44-32 in last Sunday’s semi-final.

False Bay, playing in their maiden national tournament after claiming their first WP Grand Challenge title in 44 years, beat defending champions Durbanville-Bellville 41-35 in the other semi to book their ticket to Rustenburg.

“The Gold Cup has breathed new life into the club game this year and we have broken new ground on a number of exciting fronts in the process,” said SA Rugby CEO, Jurie Roux. “There have been a number of exciting ‘firsts’, including the participation of teams from Namibia and Zimbabwe, matches taking place in three countries, and live Sunday TV broadcasts of the semi-finals, which drew record crowds.

“The decision to move the Gold Cup from the pre-season to the end of the year has also produced the desired outcome. The tournament is now perfectly positioned as the logical climax to the club season, while ensuring that players are being rewarded for their loyalty by sticking it out with the clubs for the entire year.

“There are players in Saturday’s final who have been second-team regulars all season, and who through injury to first-choice players have suddenly found themselves in the biggest match in South African open club rugby. That’s what club rugby is all about,” Roux added.

Saturday’s Final promises to be an intriguing battle between two teams who have travelled very different roads to get to the main match. Impala, having topped Pool B with the most number of logs points of any of the 20 competing clubs, have enjoyed home-ground advantage throughout the knockout rounds and will be playing their fourth straight match in Rustenburg.

False Bay, on the other hand, have travelled more than any team in this year’s Gold Cup. On Friday the team will board their ninth flight in six weeks, which included an historic journey to Harare where they played Old Georgians in the first-ever Gold Cup match outside of South Africa.

In contrast to Impala, the Cape side have had to win their quarter-final (against Pretoria Police at Loftus Versfeld) and semi-final (against Durbell) on the road, and will need to make it a hat-trick of away victories if they are to lift the coveted Gold Cup on Saturday.

If results so far are anything to go by, Saturday’s final should be anything but a low-scoring arm-wrestle. Impala have scored a combined 96 points in their two knockout matches with False Bay close on their heels with 81. Six of the top 10 try-scorers in the Gold Cup are playing in the final, although it might be the tournament’s two top point-scorers, flyhalves Cecil Dumond of Impala (86 points) and Andri Claassen of False Bay (73), who might just have the final say on the day.

Teams for Saturday:

Rustenburg Impala (15-1): Xolani Nkosi, Dumisani Matyeshana, Justin St Jerry, Berto van Wyk, Maverick van der Merwe, Cecil Dumond, Nico Kruger, Leon du Plessis, Justin Wheeler (capt.), Tiaan Prinsloo, Tiaan Nel, Robbie Rawlins, Zander de Kock, Bruce Muller, Louis Hollamby. Replacements. Gavin Williamson, Ivann Espag, Joe Engelbrecht, JP le Grange, Stefan Kruger, Francois van Biljon, McDonald Duma.

DirectAxis False Bay (15-1): Adnaan Osman, Danie Roux, Byron Mohr, Riaan O’Neill, Mustaqeem Jappie, Andri Claassen, Mohammed Damon, Ryan Olivier, Justin van Winkel, Aiden Monk, Brandon Wood, Graham Knoop (capt.), Ashley Wells, Andre van Vuuren, Wesley Futter. Replacements. Dasch Barber, Royal Mwale, Willie Coetzee, Curtley Johnson, Dylon Frylinck, Jason Pretorius, Roemark Smith.

• Should the final end in a draw, two 10-minute halves of extra time will be played. If thereafter the scores are still level, the team that scored the most tries in the match will be the winner. Should there still be deadlock, the teams will play sudden-death extra time until one team scores points of any description.

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