Carling Black Label, sponsor of the Currie Cup, and SA Rugby have once again joined forces with the intention of recognizing and rewarding the champion voices of rugby fans, with a first and historic “Champions Match” on 6 November 2021.
The Champion Team, consisting of players selected by the fans from all seven Carling Currie Cup Premier Division teams, will go head-to-head against a strong opposition side, which will be confirmed closer to the fixture.
The match falls in the international window and a break in the United Rugby Championship, so that players from the four franchises will also be available.
“This is a brilliant and innovative concept and will give supporters an unprecedented voice as they will ultimately pick the players for this combined team,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.
“Due to the COVID pandemic, fans were not allowed to attend matches, but their voices were still heard in this era of digital connectivity, and the ‘Champions Match’ will take this up a notch.
“We’ve been involved from the get-go with Carling Black Label, and we are in the process of procuring the opponent, which has unfortunately been complicated by the COVID pandemic. SA Rugby will also provide the coaching and medical teams for the Champion team.
“The Carling Currie Cup is underpinned on the heritage of the competition, and an almost tribal passion that spans generations. I’m sure our most fervent rugby fans will enjoy getting involved on a level they’ve never experienced before.”
Carling Black Label Brand Director, Arné Rust, said: “When we first announced our sponsorship of the Carling Currie Cup, it was very well received by fans and the sporting community at large.
“Carling Black Label is not just a sponsor, we strive to amplify the experience of being a Champion Fan by seeking more innovative and exciting ways to engage with fans. Now more than ever, it is of paramount importance for us to bring fans closer to the game having played the past two seasons without fans in the stands.”
Rust said they are very excited to tap into the massive levels of support for the seven Premier Division teams and the Carling Currie Cup in general, and to see how supporters will react to this special exhibition match.
“We will be putting the power to choose the ultimate Champion Team in the hands of our champion fans, basically making their ‘fantasy team’ dreams come true,” added Rust.
Supporters of the Vodacom Bulls, Cell C Sharks, Sigma Lions, DHL Western Province, Toyota Cheetahs, Tafel Lager Griquas and the New Nation Pumas can select the players they would like to see play for the Champions Team by voting on their mobile phones (USSD), on Facebook or the Carling Currie Cup website.
To vote, fans must purchase a promotional Carling Black Label 500ml can or 750ml bottle branded with Carling Currie Cup artwork. To vote via a mobile phone, fans can use the unique code on the can end tab or underliner of the quart, and then dial 120660*unique code#. Voting via USSD is free on the Vodacom network and 20c/20s for any other network providers.
Fans may also vote on www.carlingcurriecup.com or by scanning the QR code on the pack with their mobile device.
On Facebook Messenger, fans must enter their unique code in the input box and will then be prompted to choose their Champion Team. With each promo unit (the 500ml can and 750ml bottle) purchased, fans will be able to make their voices heard, access and affect the world of rugby like never before.
To further empower the fans, every third valid unique code entry will give them a bonus vote, with the brand also encouraging the fans to stay tuned to Carling Black Label’s social media channels for additional special unique codes that they can use to ‘Choose Your Champion Team’.