Photo: William Brown
THE race to grab the North region’s Cell C Community Cup 2015 qualifying slot reaches the semi-final stage on Saturday with matches in Johannesburg and Secunda set to determine who will play in the final at Loftus Versfeld next week for a place in the 2015 tournament.
There is great interest in the new format – identical to Rugby World Cup qualifying, right down to the repechage round for lucky losers – which sees the second-best non-university clubs from all 14 Unions involved in post-season knockout clashes to claim the five remaining slots in Community Cup 2015, which kicks off on 21 February.
In the first semi-final, 2013 Community Cup bronze medallists and Valke league runners-up G5 Metals Brakpan face resurgent Joburg club Vaseline Wanderers at the neutral venue of Wits University.
Kick-off is 13h00, to allow supporters to travel to Ellis Park afterwards where the Xerox Golden Lions host DHL Western Province in the Absa Currie Cup at 17h05, and the Golden Lions Rugby Union has confirmed that the first 450 fans through the gates at Wits (entrance R10) will get a free ticket to Ellis Park.
The Brakpan-Wanderers clash will be preceded by a Koshuis final between the Wits Interfaculty Barbarians and rivals UJ’s Barbarians (11h15).
The Community Cup’s iconic Gold Cup trophy will be on display at the second semi-final, which sees Mpumalanga Super League finalists Sasol hosting the Blue Bulls’ number-two open club, Oostelikes Eagles, in Secunda (15h00).
Saturday’s respective winners will have the opportunity to play the main curtain-raiser (kick-off 14h40) to the Vodacom Blue Bulls vs Cell C Sharks Absa Currie Cup match at Loftus Versfeld next Saturday, with the prize of a place at Community Cup 2015 at stake.
The first of the five qualifiers has been confirmed, with 2013 Community Cup silver medallists and KZN Fidelity Security Moor Cup runners-up Jonsson College Rovers beating Griquas No 2 Upington 62-17 at Kings Park in Durban last Saturday to win the Central Region final.
All is however not lost for Upington, who will now have a third bite at the cherry in the repechage round, where they will face one of Brakpan, Wanderers, Sasol or Oostelikes for a place in the final – and a shot at becoming the 20th and final team to book their place for 2015.
With just over five months to go before the start of the third edition of Community Cup, a total of 13 teams have already qualified automatically from their respective provincial premier leagues, with only the champions of Boland and SWD to be confirmed.
2015 Cell C Community Cup Qualifying Matches – details TBC unless otherwise stated:
SOUTH WEST REGION:
Match 1 – Boland 2 (TBC) vs WP 2 (TBC) – Winner qualifies for Community Cup as South West 1, loser to Repechage Semi-final 1. The Boland Premier League runner-up and the second-best open club in the WP Super League A will contest this one-off match, date/venue TBC.
SOUTH EAST REGION:
Match 2 – East London Police (Border 2) vs SAPS PE (EP 2) – 27 Sep, 15h00, Central Grounds, Uitenhage. Winner to Match 3. Loser eliminated.
Match 3 – Winner Match 2 vs SWD 2 – 25 Oct, venue TBC. Winner qualifies for Community Cup as South East 1, loser to Repechage Semi-final 1
Match 8 – G5 Metals Brakpan vs Vaseline Wanderers Chiefs (Golden Lions 2) – 13 Sep, Wits University, 13h00. Winner to Match 11. Loser eliminated.
Match 10 – Sasol (Mpumalanga 2) vs Oostelikes (Blue Bulls 2) – 13 Sep, Sasol Rugby Club, Secunda, 15h00. Winner to Match 11. Loser eliminated.
Match 11 – Winner Match 8 vs Winner Match 10 – 20 Sep, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, 14h40 (curtain-raiser to Blue Bulls vs Sharks Absa Currie Cup match). Winner qualifies for Community Cup as North 1, loser to Repechage Semi-final 2.
Match 12 – Semi-final 1: Loser Match 1 (South West) vs Loser Match 3 (South East)
Match 13 – Semi-final 2: Upington (Central) vs Loser Match 11 (North)
Match 14 – Final: Winner Match 12 vs Winner Match 13. Winner is 20th & final team to qualify for Community Cup.
Pool A – Rustenburg Impala (Leopards, defending champion), Kempston Old Selbornians (Border), Springs (Valke), repechage winner, regional qualifier.
Pool B – Raiders (Golden Lions), Pretoria Police (Blue Bulls), Bloemfontein Crusaders (Free State), BB Truck Noordelikes (Limpopo), regional qualifier.
Pool C – Hamiltons (WP), Boland champion (TBC), Aveng Moolmans Sishen (Griquas), SWD champion (TBC), regional qualifier.
Pool D – SA Home Loans Durban Collegians (KZN), Gap Management Despatch (EP), Welkom Rovers (Griffons), Shumba Ferros (Mpumalanga), regional qualifier.