8 Team Currie Cup Premier Division for 2014 and 2015
The South African Rugby Union announced today that for the 2014 and 2015 seasons we will once again be seeing an 8 team Premiership Division in the ABSA Currie Cup. This came after a 75% rmajority resolution was passed by the 14 provincial unions.
In effect this means that the EP Kings will once again gain entry into a competition without having to play a relegation/promotion match and actually winning it. As part of the resolution, The EP Kingswill be part of the 8 team setup and a long with the Golden Lions, Free State Cheetahs, Western Province, The Sharks and the Blue Bulls they will be guaranteed of their status for 2015.
In return to this there will be no promotion/relegation series for the 2015 Super Rugby season. The Lions will play in 2015 and once Super Rugby expands in 2016 the Kings will be added to the mix as the sixth South African team.
“It has been a thorough process with several false starts but we have reached a decision which is ultimately good for all our members and South African rugby,” said Mr Oregan Hoskins, the president of SARU.
“It ensures all 14 provinces have an opportunity to play in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division while ensuring that our Vodacom Super Rugby franchises have a stable environment in which to prepare.
“The creation of the new qualifying competition also fills a space in the middle of the rugby season for our non-franchise teams that stretched between the end of the Vodacom Cup in mid-May and start of the Absa Currie Cup at the end of June.
“It also addresses the anomaly that we have been driving hard for a number of years for the Kings’ inclusion in Vodacom Super Rugby and yet we do not have a place for them in our premier domestic competition.
“This is a good decision for rugby – it gives the non-franchise teams two places in the Premier Division; it allows the Kings to prepare for Vodacom Super Rugby inclusion in 2016 in the top tier of our domestic competition and it removes the uncertainty of relegation from the teams currently playing in Vodacom Super Rugby.”
In other words mr Hoskins what you are trying to say is that itr is good for the big 5 unions and the Kings. Politics and money is still running the show instead of what is good for the game. I remember the words of Boy Morkel: “The game and its spirit dictates, nothing else, everything should be done according to that spirit.”
In today’s game however it seems that it should read: “The money and politics dictates, nothing else, everything should be about the money and the politics nto the game.”
The qualifying for the 7th and 8th teams will take place as follows:
2014: Premier Division composition – The six franchise ‘anchor’ teams plus the Steval Pumas (qualifiers in 2013) and the winner of the new qualifying round, to be played after the Vodacom Cup final during June and July.
The teams will be divided into two sections on 2013 log positions: Section X (DHL Western Province, Golden Lions, Vodacom Blue Bulls, EP Kings) and Section Y (Cell C Sharks, Toyota Free State, Steval Pumas, Qualifier).
The teams will play home and away within their Sections followed by a single cross-conference round before semi-finals and final.
The qualifying competition will be contested by Griqualand West, Leopards, SWD Eagles, Boland Kavaliers, Griffons, Border Bulldogs and Valke. The teams will play a single round, with each team playing three home and three away matches.
2015: Premier Division composition – The six franchise teams plus two non-franchise teams.
They will be decided as follows:
If the two non-franchise teams finish 7th and 8th in the 2014 Absa Currie Cup Premier Division they will both play in a 2015 qualification round of eight teams.
If one non-franchise team finishes in the top six of the 2014 Absa Currie Cup Premier Division they will automatically qualify for the 2015 Absa Currie Cup. The other non-franchise team will play in a 2015 qualifying round of seven teams.
If both non-franchise teams finish in the top six of the 2014 Absa Currie Cup Premier Division, they will automatically qualify for the 2015 tournament and there will be no qualifying tournament in 2015.
It is very unlikely that both qualifiers in 2014 finish in the top 6, but it is not impossible. Should this happen then the teams in the first division will not stand a chance of playing Premier Division the next year. This will have huge financial implication for these smaller unions. But then that is how the cookie crumbles.
At least we are moving towards some sort of happiness in SA rugby. I still believe that the solution to the Currie Cup and helping the smaller unions will be to go the way of the NZ ITM Cup. All teams in the same competition with teams in the top 7 playing against each other and then playing 3 games against teams in the bottom 7 and vice versa. This way temaas get exposure to the bigger unions which in turn will bring spectators to their fields. That means more money that can be used for development.
Unfortunately we as the public do not determine the competitions and how they are palyed.