SAA National Club Champs
The country’s 14 provincial champions as well as two invited teams will contest the 35th edition of the most prestigious event on the South African club rugby calendar, which takes place in the nation’s capital for the first time since 2003.
Open clubs dominate the 16-team draw this year, with defending champions NWU-Pukke (Leopards) and Free State champions Shimlas the only Varsity Cup teams to have qualified for an event that has been dominated by student teams in recent seasons.
Both semi-finals as well as the final will be broadcast live on SuperSport. The semis (16h00 and 18h00) will be played on the Tuks Sport Campus on 24 September, while the final will be take place at Loftus Versfeld on 26 September, with kick-off at 13h00.
The match is a curtain-raiser to the Absa Currie Cup game between the Vodacom Blue Bulls and the Vodacom Free State Cheetahs, and will also be broadcast on M-Net.
The draw sees top seeds Pukke play 16th-ranked Limpopo invitees Noordelikes in the main match on the opening Sunday.
The other first-round matches are:
Rawsonville (Boland) v Great Brakriver (South Western Districts)
Shimlas (Free State) v Park (Eastern Province)
Pirates (Golden Lions) v Middelburg (Mpumalanga)
Pretoria Police (Blue Bulls) v Buffalo (Border)
Springs (Falcons) v Welkom Rovers (Griffons)
Hamiltons (WP) v Kuruman (Griqualand West)
College Rovers (KZN) v Impala (invited, Leopards)
Meanwhile, in the Western Province Super League A, Club Champs qualifiers Hamiltons need just two points in their final match of the season, against UCT, to win the WP title for the first time since 1936. The match takes place at Groote Schuur on Saturday, with kick-off at 16h00.
Hammies, on 76 points, moved to within touching distance of this historic milestone with a bonus-point victory over Helderberg last week. Defending champions Maties, on 52, must win their three remaining matches with bonus points to have any chance of retaining their title.
Meanwhile, Durban Collegians finished their 2009 season in style after beating Bloemfontein’s Old Greys 27-22 in the final of the inaugural Central Provinces club rugby tournament in Durban last Saturday.
The tournament, featuring the top open clubs from the Free State, Griffons and KZN, was a big success and provided the likes of KZN champions College Rovers and Griffons champs Welkom Rovers with some much-needed match practice ahead of the SAA National Club Champs.
Issued by SA Rugby