President's men off to Georgia
Tue, 09 Apr 2013 14:07
A South African President's XV, selected from the national First Division provinces, will contest the new IRB Tbilisi Cup, which will take place in Georgia from June 7-16.
The details of the tournament were announced by the IRB on Tuesday as part of its ongoing strategy of increasing the competition schedule for Tier Two nations.
The competition will feature World Cup 2015 hopefuls Georgia and Uruguay as well as the South African President's XV and Emerging Ireland teams.
Back-to-back matches will be played on each of the three match days (June 7, 11 and 16) in the nation's capital with the teams competing in a round robin format.
"This is an opportunity for developing players with First Division provinces to experience international competition," said Jurie Roux, CEO of the South African Rugby Union (SARU).
"South African selections enjoyed success in the IRB Nations Cup, which used to fill this window in the calendar, and this is an opportunity to test the depth of South African rugby once again."
An SA Kings team won the Nations Cup title in 2011 and an SA Emerging team won the title on their two appearances in 2007 and 2008.
Rugby is now firmly established as the national sport in Georgia. The 'Lelos' currently top the European Nations Cup standings (an event that serves as a World Cup qualifier) and the IRB-funded Tbilisi Cup is poised to be a popular addition to the international Rugby calendar.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "This exciting addition of the IRB Tbilisi Cup to the international match schedule is great news for Georgia and Uruguay, who are both striving for Rugby World Cup 2015 qualification.
"The addition of Emerging Ireland and the South Africa President's XV ensures a high-calibre competition that will deliver compelling matches, while also fulfilling the high performance needs of our Unions.
"Georgians love rugby and I am sure the event will be a huge success for the popularity and profile of Georgian Rugby, the participating Unions and the development of the Game worldwide."
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