Vodacom Cup an important stepping stone - De Villiers
February 22, 2008
Newly appointed Springbok coach Peter de Villiers says the Vodacom Cup continues to be a vital stepping stone for young players with ambitions of wearing the Green and Gold.

The Bok mentor said the Vodacom Cup was an important element of South African Rugby’s talent identification stream.

“Players who come through the Under-19 and Under-21 ranks usually take the next step up to the Vodacom Cup, he said. “This further prepares them for the demands and expectations of professional rugby. From there they can move on to the Absa Currie Cup and the Vodacom Super 14, which further enhances their growth and development, before being ready to challenge for Springbok honours.”

De Villiers added that a large percentage of the current group of Springbok players first cut their teeth in the Vodacom Cup.

“This provides ample evidence that the tournament is an important building block for South African rugby. It helps to bridge the gap between junior and senior rugby and ensures that there is a steady stream of talent flowing into the senior ranks season upon season,” de Villiers said.

The 2008 Vodacom Cup gets underway on Saturday 23 February. The 14 Provinces are divided into two pools of seven with teams playing a single round of fixtures against the seven teams in the opposite pool.

Thereafter, the top four teams in each pool will advance to a quarterfinal round, to be played on April 26. The semi-finals are scheduled for 3 May and the final for 10 May.

“The Vodacom Cup provides a very important entry point into the Provincial mainstream,” says SA Rugby Union CEO, Johan Prinsloo.

“The tournament was introduced in 1998 with the specific objective of providing quality game time to the country’s future rugby stars whilst the Vodacom Super 12 was taking place. This is still the case after a decade of competition.

“A key element in the growth of the tournament’s popularity, especially at local level, was the staging of matches in community-based venues over the past few years. This has succeeded in taking the game to the people and we are happy to confirm that the Provinces have again committed themselves to this initiative in 2008,” Prinsloo added.

All 14 Provinces will seek to host at least one of their home games at a community venue whilst sponsors Vodacom will contribute by hosting events at three of the community matches. These are; the Falcons against the Border Bulldogs at the East Rand United RC on 15 March, Vodacom WP vs. the Pumas in Paarl on 29 March and the Leopards against the SWD Eagles at Olympia Park in Rustenburg on 5 April.

The activity will include coaching clinics in the days leading up to the match as well as activities at the venues of match days.

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