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New SA Cup kicks off on Human Rights Day

PREVIEW: The inaugural SA Cup will kick off on Human Rights Day on Thursday, March 21 with an exciting clash between Griquas and the Leopards in Kimberley, while last year’s Currie Cup Premier and First Division champions collide in Bloemfontein on Friday.

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A total of 46 matches will be staged during the new competition, which will mark the official launch of the local provincial season for 2024. One of the interesting features of this competition is the inclusion of five Sunday afternoon fixtures staged across the country.

The SA Cup serves as an important bridge between pre-season and the beginning of the Currie Cup Premier and First Division competitions, effectively replacing the Mzansi Challenge from 2023.

The new competition will involve 10 provincial teams (excluding those with a United Rugby Championship franchise team) who will compete against each other over a span of nine consecutive weeks.

In 2025, the top four teams from the ‘SA Cup’ competition will join the four URC franchises in the Currie Cup Premier Division, with the remaining six teams contesting the First Division. Both competitions will culminate in the semifinals and a final.

Apart from Thursday’s opener in Kimberley, there are two matches scheduled for Friday. First up, the SWD Eagles host the Pumas at the picturesque Outeniqua Park in George at 15.30.

Later on Friday, at 18.00, the 2023 Currie Cup Premier Division champions, the Cheetahs, host the Boland Kavaliers, who won the Currie Cup First Division last year.

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Saturday sees the Falcons hit the road for their away game with Eastern Province in Gqeberha, while the Griffons entertain the Border Bulldogs in Welkom in Sunday’s only clash at 15.00, which will also wrap up a busy opening round of action.

When the league phase of this single-round competition is eventually completed, the top two sides on the standings will battle it out for honours when the SA Cup Final will be staged on the weekend of May 25.

To recap what happened last season on the domestic front – the Cheetahs clinched the Currie Cup Premier Division title over 2022 champions, the Pumas; and the Boland Kavaliers captured the Currie Cup First Division after they beat the Falcons – champions in the Mzansi Challenge – in the final.

Match information:

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Thursday, March 21

Griquas vs Leopards
(Kimberley Stadium, Kimberley – Kick-off: 15.00)

Referee: Paul Mente

Friday, March 22

SWD Eagles vs Pumas
(Outeniqua Park, George – Kick-off: 15.30)

Referee: AJ Jacobs

Cheetahs vs Boland Kavaliers
(Bloemfontein Stadium, Bloemfontein – Kick-off: 18.00)

Referee: Christopher Allison

Saturday, March 23

Eastern Province vs Valke
(Gqeberha Stadium, Gqeberha – Kick-off: 15.00)

Referee: Stephan Geldenhuys

Sunday, March 24

Griffons vs Border Bulldogs
(Welkom Stadium, Welkom – Kick-off: 15.00)

Referee: Paul Mente

 

 

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