Victories for EL Police and Rovers
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: East London Police and College Rovers were confirmed as the final two qualifiers for the Gold Cup after two nail biting play-off finals last weekend that was decided only in the dying seconds.
Veteran flyhalf Chris Jordaan ensured that he would play in his 10th national club tournament when he scored a try off the last scrum of the match to give College Rovers a heartstopping 40-37 away victory over Matleng Centurion.
Rovers will join fellow Durban Collegians, the reigning KZN Murray Cup knockout champions, in SA Rugby's three-nation championship for non-university clubs, which kicks off next Saturday, September 10.
Rovers will join defending champions Durbanville-Bellville, Worcester Villagers, Old Selbornians and Welkom Rovers in what is set to be an unpredictable and highly competitive Pool A.
In the other play-off final, East London Police, who went unbeaten this year en route to winning the Border Super League, came from behind to beat Vaal Reefs 32-23 in Klerksdorp to qualify for the Gold Cup for the first time.
The Bobbies' victory means that Pool D becomes an intriguing and unprecedented tournament within a tournament, with no less than four Police teams – namely East London, Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth – set to do battle alongside Griquas champions Belaz Sishen.
The Gold Cup kicks off next weekend with 20 clubs once again competing in a Rugby World Cup-style format consisting of eight pool matches per week for five weeks up until October 8. The top two from each group will progress to the quarterfinals a week later. All knockout matches, including the semifinals (October 22) and final (October 22) will be hosted at participating clubs.
The rugby-mad Boland town of Worcester will host the televised opening match of the tournament when Worcester Villagers – at 133 years, the oldest club in the Gold Cup having been founded in 1883 – host Welkom Rovers in Pool A.
Round One (Saturday, September 10):
Worcester Villagers v Welkom Rovers (Boland Park, Worcester)
Durbanville-Bellville v Old Selbornians (Durbell Rugby Club, Cape Town)
Pirates v Wanderers Windhoek (Pirates Rugby Club, Johannesburg)
Rhinos v Rustenburg (Northam Rugby Club, Limpopo)
False Bay v Durban Collegians (Philip Herbstein Field, Constantia, Cape Town)
White River v Old Georgians Harare (White River Rugby Club, Mpumalanga)
Belaz Sishen v Pretoria Police (Sivos Stadium, Kathu)
PE Police v Bloemfontein Police (Kemsley Park, Port Elizabeth)
Round Two (Saturday, September 17):
Welkom Rovers v Durbanville-Bellville (Rovers Rugby Club, Welkom)
College Rovers v Worcester Villagers (venue & time TBC)
Pacaltsdorp Evergreens v Rustenburg (Pacaltsdorp Sports Ground, George)
Pirates v Rhinos (Pirates Rugby Club, Johannesburg)
Durban Collegians v White River (Growth-Point Kings Park Stadium, Durban, 13h00)
Siyaya Brakpan v False Bay (Bosman Stadium, Brakpan)
Pretoria Police v PE Police (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, Fri 16 September, 16h45)
East London Police v Belaz Sishen (Police Park, East London)
Round Three (Saturday, September 24):
Old Selbornians v Worcester Villagers (Mike Pendock Motors Park, East London)
Welkom Rovers v College Rovers – Rovers Rugby Club, Welkom
Wanderers Windhoek v Rhinos (Wanderers Club, Windhoek)
Pacaltsdorp Evergreens v Pirates (Pacaltsdorp Sports Ground, George)
Old Georgians v False Bay (Police Grounds, Harare)
Durban Collegians v Siyaya Brakpan – KP 10, Kings Park, Durban
PE Police v East London Police – Kemsley Park, Port Elizabeth
Bloemfontein Police v Pretoria Police (Bobbies Park, Bloemfontein)
Round Four (Saturday, October 1):
College Rovers v Old Selbornians (KP3, Kings Park, Durban)
Worcester Villagers v Durbanville-Bellville (Boland Park, Worcester)
Rhinos v Pacaltsdorp Evergreens (Northam Rugby Club, Limpopo)
Rustenburg v Wanderers Windhoek (Impala Rugby Club, Rustenburg)
White River v Siyaya Brakpan – White River Rugby Club
Old Georgians v Durban Collegians (OGSC, Harare)
East London Police v Bloemfontein Police (Police Park, East London)
Belaz Sishen v PE Police (Sivos Stadium, Kathu)
Round Five (Saturday, October 8):
Durbanville-Bellville v College Rovers – Durbell Rugby Club, Cape Town
Old Selbornians v Welkom Rovers (Mike Pendock Motors Park, East London)
Rustenburg v Pirates (Impala Rugby Club, Rustenburg)
Wanderers Windhoek v Pacaltsdorp Evergreens (Wanderers Club, Windhoek)
Siyaya Brakpan v Old Georgians Harare – Bosman Stadium, Brakpan
False Bay v White River (Philip Herbstein Field, Constantia, Cape Town)
Bloemfontein Police v Belaz Sishen (Bobbies Park, Bloemfontein)
Pretoria Police v East London Police – Police Rugby Club, Pretoria