Gold Cup play-offs reach climax
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The respective winners of two of the most famous trophies in South African club rugby go head to head on Saturday as the race for the last two places in the upcoming Gold Cup reaches its climax.
Matleng Centurion, who recently lifted the Blue Bulls' iconic Carlton Cup for the first time since 1999, will host two-time national club champions, and reigning KZN Moor Cup league winners College Rovers on Saturday in the first play-off final.
The winner will qualify for the Gold Cup – SA Rugby's three-nation championship for non-university clubs, which kicks off on September 10.
In the other play-off final, East London Police will travel to Klerksdorp to face Vaal Reefs. The match takes place at Wesvalia High School.
SA Rugby also announced on Thursday that the Gold Cup's Player, Coach and Administrator of the Year would once again be rewarded with all-expenses-paid international exchanges to top UK clubs.
This is made possible through a partnership with the British High Commission and Richard de Jager of RDJ Sports Development, as well as Richmark Holdings and the SA Rugby Legends.
"The Gold Cup was established to provide club players, coaches and administrators with a platform to display their talents and it's fantastic that the programme will once again give the tournament's top performers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to play and learn overseas,” said SA Rugby CEO, Jurie Roux.
"Last year's club player of the year, Leon du Plessis of Rustenburg Impala, spent six months at Scottish Premiership side Selkirk and so impressed that he ended up playing a match for the Edinburgh franchise against Scotland Under-20, scoring a try.
"Young player of the year Dashston Wellman of Wesbank made such an impression at Selkirk that we were invited back this year to play in the Scottish Sevens circuit, where he emerged as one of the star players. He has just signed a contract with a French club – none of which might have been possible had he not been spotted in the Gold Cup," added Roux.
The rugby-mad Boland town of Worcester will host the opening match of the tournament when United Bulk Worcester Villagers – at 133 years, the oldest club in the Gold Cup having been founded in 1883 – host Welkom Rovers in Pool A.