Category Archives: Currie Cup Rugby

Botes breaks new ground in Absa Currie Cup

Veteran Cell C Sharks flank Jacques Botes will break new ground in the Absa Currie Cup competition on Friday as he extends his Absa Currie Cup record to 150 matches, which will make him the first player ever to reach this significant milestone.

Interestingly the player will mark this achievement against the Steval Pumas, the team he first represented in SA’s premier domestic competition. Botes made his provincial debut for the Pumas in 2002 and remained at the union until 2004 before joining the Sharks in 2005.

The Cell C Sharks face the Steval Pumas at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Friday in the opening match of the weekend and with both teams having had good starts to the competition it could prove to be a thrilling clash.

In Saturday’s matches GWK Griquas host the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Kimberley, the Vodacom Blue Bulls take on DHL Western Province in Pretoria and the EP Kings go up against the Xerox Golden Lions in Port Elizabeth.

In Nelspruit, history and form favours the Cell C Sharks as they have won 17 out of the 19 matches between the sides since the 1996 season and they remain one of only two unbeaten teams in the competition.  The home team, however, proved against GWK Griquas and the Toyota Free State Cheetahs that their pack could stand their ground and that they can score tries, and they will bank on these skills to challenge the visitors.

The match-up between GWK Griquas and the Toyota Free State Cheetahs is expected to be hard-fought as the teams both attempt to bounce back from defeats last weekend. This will mark the second clash between the teams in the series. They met in Bloemfontein two weekends ago and the home team secured a narrow 34-27 victory. With former Free State backline coach Hawies Fourie at the helm at GWK Griquas, he is expected to use his knowledge of the visitors’ structures and some players to register their first victory in the series. Interestingly the Free State have won the last five matches between the teams.

The Vodacom Blue Bulls will face another tough test against log-leaders DHL Western Province, this time in Pretoria, following their heavy 41-17 defeat against the Cape side at DHL Newlands earlier in the month. The visitors will enter the clash as overwhelming favourites following three victories in as many matches, but the hosts will be desperate to build on their first victory in the series at home last week. With DHL Western Province’s attack proving to be one of their main strengths, the Vodacom Blue Bulls will have to tighten up their defence significantly to prevent the Capetonians from registering their second successive Absa Currie Cup victory at Loftus Versfeld.

The Xerox Golden Lions, meanwhile, will look to bounce back strongly from their first defeat in the series against DHL Western Province when they line up against the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth. The Premier Division newcomers have their backs against the wall after three defeats and only one log point to show for their efforts so far in the series. They are also still carrying the scars of the 60-19 hiding by the Johannesburg team two weekends back. Given this the EP Kings will have to deliver their best performance yet to topple the Johannesburg side.

Team News

Cell C Sharks coach Brad Mcleod-Henderson has handed scrumhalf Conrad Hoffmann his first start while Springbok lock Stephan Lewies continues his return from injury off the bench. In the Steval Pumas camp coach Jimmy Stonehouse has handed former Western Province scrumhalf Dylon Frylinck a start, while Springbok Sevens star Rosko Speckman will start on the wing and JW Bell at fullback. The match will be particularly special for centre JW Jonker, who will play his 50th Absa Currie Cup match.

GWK Griquas coach Hawies Fourie, meanwhile, named an unchanged side for their Heartland derby against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs, while the Bloemfontein coach has made only one change to his team, with lock Henco Venter being promoted to the starting team, while Waltie Vermeulen is drafted onto the bench.

In the Vodacom Blue Bulls camp, flyhalf Joshua Stander could make his debut after being bracketed alongside Jacques-Louis Potgieter for their clash against DHL Western Province. Potgieter is nursing a rib injury and will be given until Saturday to recover. The other changes to the run-on team were the inclusion of scrumhalf Piet van Zyl, hooker Callie Visagie and prop Werner Kruger. Meanwhile, DHL Western Province coach Allister Coetzee made only one change to his starting team, which sees Springbok Jaco Taute earn his first Absa Currie Cup start for the union as a replacement for the injured Michael van der Spuy. Pat Howard has been drafted onto the bench as cover.

In Port Elizabeth EP Kings coach Carlos Spencer has named Junior Springbok Aidon Davis as the replacement for their captain Luke Watson, who has been ruled out due to concussion, while prop BG Uys comes in Lizo Gqoboka who is being rested. At flyhalf George Whitehead replaces Gary van Aswegen, who is nursing a groin injury. His Xerox Golden Lions counterpart Johan Ackermann, meanwhile, made several changes to his team with the most notable being the inclusion of Andries Coetzee at flyhalf, which made way for Ruan Combrinck at fullback, while captain Warren Whiteley reclaims his position in the loose trio after returning from the Springbok tour to Argentina.

Absa Currie Cup Premier Division round four fixtures:

Steval Pumas vs Cell C Sharks

Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Kickoff: 19h10

Date: Friday, 29 August

Referee: Ben Crouse

Assistant Referees: Marius Jonker and Stefan Breytenbach

TMO: Johan Greeff

TV: SS1

GWK Griquas vs Toyota Free State Cheetahs

Venue: GWK Park, Kimberley

Kickoff: 15h00

Date: Saturday, 30 August

Referee: Jaco van Heerden

Assistant Referees: Jaco Peyper and Francois de Bruin

TMO: JJ Wagner

TV: SS1

Vodacom Blue Bulls vs DHL Western Province

Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

Kickoff: 17h05

Date: Saturday, 30 August

Referee: Craig Joubert

Assistant Referees: Rasta Rasivhenge and Cobus Wessels

TMO: Willie Vos

TV: SS1

EP Kings vs Xerox Golden Lions

Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

Kickoff: 19h10

Date: Saturday, 30 August

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen

Assistant Referees: Francois Pretorius and Lusanda Jam

TMO: Jason Jaftha

TV: SS1

Advertisements

Whitely returns for Xerox Golden Lions against EP Kings

Xerox Golden Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has named his 22-man outfit, which will face the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Ackermann has made a few changes to the Xerox Golden Lions backline, following last weekend’s match against DHL Western Province. Ruan Combrinck will start at his preferred position of fullback, Lionel Mapoe will run out at right wing and Stokkies Hanekom reverts to the outside centre berth for this match. 

Alwyn Hollenbach returns to action and will start at inside centre, while Andries Coetzee will fill the flyhalf slot.

In the forwards, the Xerox Golden Lions welcome back captain Warren Whiteley at eighthman. Jaco Kriel will also start this match alongside Whiteley in the loose trio. In the front row, Armand van der Merwe will make a start at hooker.  

The match will kick off at 19h10.

 Xerox Golden Lions: 15. Ruan Combrinck 14. Lionel Mapoe 13. Stokkies Hanekom 12. Alwyn Hollenbach 11. Courtnall Skosan 10. Andries Coetzee 9. Ross Cronje 8. Warren Whiteley (c) 7. Warwick Tecklenburg 6. Jaco Kriel 5. Franco Mostert 4. MB Lusaseni 3. Ruan Dreyer 2. Armand van der Merwe 1. Schalk van der Merwe.

Replacements: 16. Robbie Coetzee 17. Jacques van Rooyen 18. Willie Britz 19. Derick Minnie 20. Kwagga Smith 21. Ricky Schroeder 22. Howard Mnisi

Taute at inside centre for DHL Western Province

Jaco Taute will make his first Absa Currie Cup start in DHL Western Province colours, after being named at inside centre for Saturday’s meeting with the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Pretoria (kick-off 17h05).

Springbok Taute replaces the injured Michael van der Spuy (hamstring) in the No.12 shirt in the only change to the DHL WP starting XV from last weekend’s 27-14 win over the Golden Lions.

Former SA Under-20 star Pat Howard, a Round One try-scorer against the EP Kings, replaces Taute on the bench – meaning just two changes overall to the Province 22 from last week.

Taute scored a valuable try off the bench last week after replacing Van der Spuy in the 59th minute and his experience will be a major boon for the unbeaten and table-topping DHL Western Province outfit ahead of Saturday’s clash at Loftus Versfeld.

DHL WP coach Allister Coetzee told www.wprugby.com: “This is a great opportunity for Jaco. I’ve said before that his size and skill-set could make him into the ideal centre and he now has an opportunity to show us just that.

“Jaco is still very young (at 23 years of age) but he’s already very experienced having played Test and Super Rugby at centre before.

“But his skill and strength aside, his communication is his biggest attribute and I look forward to seeing him operate in the No.12 jersey.

“Your depth is tested quite severely during the Absa Currie Cup,” added Coetzee, “so having versatile players like Jaco (in our squad) is a good thing – especially ahead of a big game like Saturday.”

The Bulls picked up a welcome 30-25 win over the EP Kings last weekend and will be determined to make it back-to-back victories in front of their home support as they also look to avenge their Round Two defeat to DHL WP in Cape Town two weeks ago.

“We will respect any team we play against and it doesn’t get much bigger than playing against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld – no matter what happened last time between us,” said Coetzee.

“The Bulls did well to beat the EP Kings. Don’t look at the scoreline, they’ve come off a difficult few weeks and it was a big and valuable win for them.”

The DHL WP team for Saturday (v the Blue Bulls, away) is as follows: 15. Cheslin Kolbe 14. Kobus van Wyk 13. Juan de Jongh (captain) 12. Jaco Taute (First Absa Currie Cup start for DHL Western Province) 11. Seabelo Senatla 10. Demetri Catrakilis 9. Nic Groom 8. Nizaam Carr 7. Michael Rhodes 6. Siya Kolisi 5. Manuel Carizza 4. Jean Kleyn 3. Pat Cilliers (vice-captain) 2. Stephan Coetzee 1. Alistair Vermaak

Replacements: 16. Neil Rautenbach 17. Brok Harris 18. Ruan Botha 19. Rynhardt Elstadt 20. Louis Schreuder 21. Kurt Coleman 22. Pat Howard

Referee: Craig Joubert Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Cobus Wessels Television Match Official: Willie Vos

Absa Currie Cup First Division resumes

The Absa Currie Cup First Division will resume on Friday following seven rounds of matches in June and July, which served as the Qualifier for the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division.

It means the Leopards kick off part two with a healthy eight-point lead at the top of the log, on 25 points, with the Down Touch Griffons leading the chasing pack.

The log table has been adjusted with the removal of match and competition points that have been taken or conceded against the Kimberley side following their promotion to the Premier Division.

The six First Division teams will play five more pool rounds, with the semifinals and final to be contested on October 4 and 17 respectively.

In Friday’s matches the Border Bulldogs host the Valke at the BCM Stadium in East London and the SWD Eagles meet the Leopards at Outeniqua Park in George.

In the only match on Saturday Boland Cavaliers take on Down Touch Griffons at the Boland Stadium in Wellington.

The First Division teams will be keeping one eye on events in the Premier Division. Should either or both of the GWK Griquas or Steval Pumas feature among the bottom two teams in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division this year, their place will be up for grabs next year.

The six ‘franchise’ teams have been entrenched in the Premier Division and will reappear in 2015 – but the GWK Griquas and Pumas have to finish in the top six if they are to avoid appearing in an Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Qualifying tournament next year.

Meanwhile, in East London the Border Bulldogs will be determined to register a victory against the Valke to keep alive their semifinal hopes despite occupying fifth position on the log table. The fact that the Valke suffered defeats in all of their qualifying matches will certainly give Border hope to begin the last few rounds of the competition on a positive note. They will, however, be wary of the Valke’s main playmaker, fullback Jaun Kotze, who topped the point scorer’s list in the Qualifier with 93 points.

In the Leopards camp coach Robert de Preez has retained the core of the team that steered them to five victories in six matches in the Qualifier for their clash against SWD. With wings Luther Obi and Sylvian Mahuza and veteran Springbok flyhalf Andre Pretorius, who were among the top five point-scorers in the Qualifier looming large, the Eagles will have to produce a solid defensive effort and remain disciplined to prevent a similar fate to the 51-23 defeat they suffered against the Potchefstroom side in June.

The Down Touch Griffons, meanwhile, will look to celebrate captain and No8 Nicky Steyn’s 100th Absa Currie Cup match with a victory against the Boland Cavaliers in Wellington. A victory would also allow them to remain within range of log-leaders the Leopards. But they may face a tough test as the Wellington side put up a brave fight in their last clash and suffered a narrow 27-25 defeat, which should boost their confidence, especially with home ground advantage counting in their favour.

Absa Currie Cup First Division fixtures:

Border Bulldogs vs Valke

Venue: BCM Stadium, East London

Date: Friday, 29 August

Kickoff: 18h00

Referee: Stuart Berry

Assistant Referees: Rodney Boneparte and Fernando Uithaler

 

SWD Eagles vs Leopards

Venue: Outeniqua Park, George

Date: Friday, 29 August

Kickoff: 19h00

Referee:  Pro Legoete

Assistant Referees: Christie du Preez and Ruhan Meiring

 

Boland Cavaliers vs Down Touch Griffons

Venue: Boland Stadium, Wellington

Date: Saturday, 30 August

Kickoff: 16h00

Referee: Lourens van der Merwe

Assistant Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni and Linston Manuels

 

Absa Currie Cup First Division log table:

 

TEAM P W L D PF PA PD TF TA LOSS BONUS TRIES BONUS POINTS
Leopards 5 5 0 0 324 108 216 47 13 0 5 25
Down Touch Griffons 5 3 2 0 159 170 -11 21 23 1 4 17
SWD Eagles 5 3 2 0 151 188 -37 21 24 0 3 15
Boland Cavaliers 5 2 3 0 137 135 2 17 18 2 2 12
Valke 5 2 3 0 168 183 -15 22 25 0 2 10
Border Bulldogs 5 0 5 0 113 268 -155 15 40 1 1 2

Currie Cup suprisesas home teams win

The Cell C Sharks, DHL Western Province, Vodacom Blue Bulls and Steval Pumas this weekend all registered invaluable home wins in their round-three Absa Currie Cup clashes to build momentum in their campaigns.

Steval Pumas 33 GWK Griquas 15

The Steval Pumas produced a strong second-half performance to build a progressive lead against the GWK Griquas in a tense clash at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit. The visitors showed fantastic innovation on attack in the first half with flashy passing and impressive running rugby, and were able to score two tries to one against the hosts before the break for a narrow 12-11 lead.

But the home team shut out the Kimberley side in the second half thanks to their solid defence, while they supported this with a quality display on attack, which earned them three more tries for an invaluable bonus point.    

Scorers:

Steval Pumas – Tries: Corne Steenkamp, Jerome Pretorius (2), Renaldo Bothma. Conversions: JC Roos, Justin van Staden. Penalties: JC Roos, Justin van Staden (2).

GWK Griquas – Tries: Dean Grant, Marnus Schoeman. Conversion: Dean Grant. Penalty: Dean Grant.

 

Vodacom Blue Bulls 30 EP Kings 25

At Loftus Versfeld the clash between the Vodacom Blue Bulls and EP Kings was hard-fought from the outset as both teams tried hard to end their winless runs in the competition. The clash, however, delivered a total of seven tries, with the Vodacom Blue Bulls managing a bonus-point victory, with veteran wing Akona Ndungane contributing two tries.

The hosts held a narrow 11-8 lead at half time, but both teams found their rhythm in the second half and managed to breach the defence. Three back-to-back tries by the Vodacom Blue Bulls in the second half to only two by the EP Kings, however, guaranteed the hosts their first victory of the season and catapulted them into sixth place on the log table.

Scorers:

Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Akona Ndungane (2), Deon Stegmann, Jesse Kriel. Conversions: Tony Jantjies (2). Penalties: Tony Jantjies (2).

EP Kings – Tries: Lizo Gqoboka, Michael van Vuuren, Shane Gates. Conversions: Scott van Breda. Penalties: Scott van Breda (2).

 

DHL Western Province 27 Xerox Golden Lions 14

The clash in Cape Town was closer than the scoreboard suggested as the Xerox Golden Lions dominated possession throughout the match, but battled to breach the solid DHL Western Province defence.

In stark contrast the hosts did well to convert their try-scoring chances into points, which earned them three tries to only one by the visitors, while goal kickers Demetri Catrakillis and Kurt Coleman kept the score up with three conversions and two penalties. Two of Province’s tries were scored in the first 16 minutes thanks to back-to-back tries by wing Kobus van Wyk, while the Lions hit back later in the half with a try by fullback Andries Coetzee and a penalty by Ruan Combrinck to trail 14-8 at the break.

DHL Western Province’s ability to convert their chances into points, meanwhile, allowed them to stay ahead on the scoreboard throughout the second half for their third victory, which in turn allowed them to remain at the top of the log table.

Scorers:

DHL Western Province – Tries: Jaco Taute, Kobus van Wyk (2). Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis (2), Kurt Coleman. Penalties: Demetri Catrakilis (2).

Xerox Golden Lions – Try: Andries Coetzee. Penalties: Ruan Combrinck (3).

 

Cell C Sharks 19 Toyota Free State Cheetahs 16

The clash between the Cell C Sharks and Toyota Free State Cheetahs proved to be a kicking festival as the teams both opted to kick in behind the defence throughout the match. The battle up front was tough, and with both teams defending well, they were forced to settle mainly for penalties by flyhalves Fred Zeilinga and Willie du Plessis to keep the scoreboard ticking. Such was the closeness of the match only two stunning individual tries were scored in the 80 minutes.

The Bloemfontein side built up an encouraging 13-3 lead by the end of the first half thanks to the try by fullback Clayton Blommetjies, but the Sharks levelled the scores at 16-16 in the 69th minute. A late penalty by Zeilinga, however, sealed the 19-16 victory for the Durban side.

Scorers:

Cell C Sharks – Try: Tonderai Chavhanga. Conversion: Fred Zeilinga. Penalties: Fred Zeilinga (4).

Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Try: Clayton Blommetjies. Conversion: Willie du Plessis. Penalties: Willie du Plessis (3).

 

Absa Currie Cup Premier Division log following Round 3:

TEAM P W L D PF PA PD TF TA LOSS BONUS TRIES BONUS POINTS
DHL Western Province 3 3 0 0 103 47 56 13 4 0 2 14
Cell C Sharks 3 3 0 0 84 57 27 8 6 0 1 13
Xerox Golden Lions 3 2 1 0 115 59 56 14 7 0 2 10
Steval Pumas 3 2 1 0 78 70 8 9 8 0 1 9
Toyota FS Cheetahs 3 1 2 0 71 74 -3 8 8 2 1 7
Vodacom Blue Bulls 3 1 2 0 60 107 -47 6 13 0 1 5
GWK Griquas 3 0 3 0 66 98 -32 9 12 2 1 3
EP Kings 3 0 3 0 60 125 -65 8 17 1 0 1

 

 

 

 

DHL WP unchanged for Xerox Golden Lions match

Head coach Allister Coetzee has named an unchanged line-up for Saturday’s top-of-the-log Absa Currie Cup clash between DHL Western Province and the Xerox Golden Lions at DHL Newlands (kick-off 17h05).

Hookers Tiaan Liebenberg (back) and Scarra Ntubeni (calf muscle) remain sidelined, meaning Stephan Coetzee continues in the No.2 jersey with Neil Rautenbach again warming the bench.

Centre Juan de Jongh continues to lead the team, having led DHL WP to wins over the EP Kings (away) and the Blue Bulls (home) thus far, with tighthead prop Pat Cilliers serving as his vice-captain once again.

Province and the Lions met on three occasions in last year’s Absa Currie Cup, with the team in Blue & White hoops winning both matches at DHL Newlands and the teams playing to an exciting 31-31 draw in Johannesburg.

DHL Western Province coach Coetzee told www.wprugby.com: “The Lions represent a big test for us as they’re not scared to have a go with ball in hand, even from their own goalline.

“I’d say they’re the overall favourites in the Absa Currie Cup. They’re the pace-setters, they have a good set-piece and, like I said, they’re not scared to attack from anywhere.

“Yes, we are also unbeaten so far, but I’d like to see us become a bit more consistent… especially if you want to become the tournament pace-setters. (So) you can’t have any so-called ‘soft’ moments in your game.”

Saturday’s action gets underway at 12h45, with the DHL WP Under-19s in action against the Lions Under-19s, before the DHL WP Under-21 team takes on the Lions U21s – also in a top-of-the-table match-up – at 14h45.

Match tickets are priced from just R35 (for standing), whilst seating prices range between R55, R65, R75 and R95 and can be purchased right now from http://wprugby.ticketpros.co.za.

Tickets can also be bought directly from the DHL Newlands Box Office (opening times this week: Tuesday-Friday, 09h00-16h00 and Saturday, 09h00-14h30), or from selected Western Cape Spar stores and PostNet branches (nationwide).

The DHL WP team for Saturday (v the Golden Lions) is as follows:

  1. Cheslin Kolbe 14. Kobus van Wyk 13. Juan de Jongh (captain) 12. Michael van der Spuy 11. Seabelo Senatla 10. Demetri Catrakilis 9. Nic Groom 8. Nizaam Carr 7. Michael Rhodes 6. Siya Kolisi 5. Manuel Carizza 4. Jean Kleyn 3. Pat Cilliers (vice-captain) 2. Stephan Coetzee 1. Alistair Vermaak

Replacements: 16. Neil Rautenbach 17. Brok Harris 18. Ruan Botha 19. Rynhardt Elstadt 20. Louis Schreuder 21. Kurt Coleman 22. Jaco Taute

Referee: Craig Joubert Assistant referees: Christie du Preez, Marc van Zyl Television Match Official: Deon van Blommestein

Sharks out lasts Pumas

The Sharks trailed 7-6 at halftime and scored four tries in the second half through SP Marais, Absa Currie Cup record appearance holder Jacques Botes, Tera Mtembu and Monde Hadebe to claim an important bonus point win.

The Pumas, last year’s First Division champions, made a winning start to the competition when they defeated the Toyota Free State Cheetahs last week. On Friday evening they threatened an upset once more after tries through lock Frikkie Spies and Renaldo Bothma.

Patrick Lambie, released by the Springboks earlier in the week, came on in the 57thminute to steer the Sharks to safety with an assured performance in the flyhalf role.

Scorers

Cell C Sharks 34 – Tries SP Marais, Jacques Botes, Tera Mtembu, Monde Hadebe. Conversions: Fred Zeilinga, Patrick Lambie (3). Penalties: Zeilinga (2)Steval Pumas 17 – Tries: Frikkie Spies, Renaldo Bothma. Conversions: Justin van Staden, JC Roos. Penalty: Roos.

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.

Michael Rhodes cleared to play

DHL Western Province and Stormers forward Michael Rhodes was cleared of further sanctions on Thursday after being cited for a dangerous tackle in the Absa Currie Cup final against The Sharks in Cape Town last season.

Rhodes appeared before a South African Rugby Union judicial committee in Cape Town following the postponement of his disciplinary hearing at the end of last season.

The player was cited for a tackle in the second half of the Absa Currie Cup final when he placed his arm around Sharks hooker Bismarck du Plessis’ neck in a maul and maintained his grip for a few seconds. This was in breach of law 10.4 (e) relating to dangerous tackling.

The presiding judicial officer Adv Donny Jacobs was satisfied with the referee’s decision to penalise the player during the match and felt that no further sanction was necessary.

DANGEROUS TACKLES AT THE MAUL/RUCK & INCONSISTENT PUNISHMENT OF IT

So Michael Rhodes will face a disciplinary hearing for that tackle so many months ago in the Currie Cup final on Bismarck du Plessis. I don’t have a problem with the fact that he needs to face the consequences of his actions. My problem is with the consistency that these types of tackles are being penalised and punished.

In that same game Pieter-Steph du Toit had Deon Fourie around the neck at a ruck and he lifted him clear of his feet and then brought him down head-over-heels. Much like a move that “The Undertaker” would use in a WWE contest. Nothing came of that. Yet Rhodes is facing a hearing for a tackle around the neck but that was much less dangerous than this.

At every ruck you will see players clearing out others by grabbing them around the neck, twisting them around and then forcing them to the ground. According to a well know referee this is known as a grabbling tackle and it is illegal. Yet nothing is being done about it by either the referees or the citing commissioners.

The Currie Cup final is also a great example of the inconsistency of the officials not only on the field but of the field. The citing commissioner for this game should have sanctioned Rhodes as well as Du Toit to face charges, yet only one was cited.

The other problem is that we will have different judicial officers handling hearings for the same type of offence. Once again Rhodes is good example. Last year during the Currie Cup he got red carded for stepping on a Bulls player. At the hearing after the game it was made clear that there was no intention by Rhodes to step on the player and that momentum and other factors led to this. He got a one week ban.

A couple of weeks later Bismarck du Plessis happened to be in the same position. He accidently stepped on a player. No card on the field and the judicial officer that handle the hearing, after Bissie was cited, found him not to be guilty of any malicious intent. Bissie got of scot free. No ban, nothing.

This leads me to ask where the consistency is in the way certain offences are penalised and punished.

IO believe that it is time for the citing commissioners, judicial officers and match officials to step up and become consistent. When it comes to the commissioners and judicial officers, the same guys should be used throughout the season. For citings one officer should handle all the matches. Give him until Monday to cite players.

Let one judicial officer handle the hearings for one type of offence. This will see more consistent punishment and hopefully citing of players for foul play.

But then that is just my view……

%d bloggers like this: