Cell C Community Cup the National Clubs Round-up: All eyes on Uitenhage derby

Jun 7 • Cell C Community Cup, Club Rugby, General News, Varsity & Club • 3471 Views • Comments Off on Cell C Community Cup the National Clubs Round-up: All eyes on Uitenhage derby

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National Clubs Round-up: All eyes on Uitenhage derby

The 2014 Cell C Community Cup qualifying race continues to hot up in a number of provinces, with arguably three of the biggest club matches of the weekend taking place in places as geographically diverse as Cape Town, Kathu and Uitenhage.

Three of the 20 slots for the 2014 edition of SARU’s elite tournament for non-university or so-called ‘open’ clubs have already been filled, with provincial premier leagues the battleground for the remaining places over the coming months.

As defending champions, GAP Despatch will be assured of their place should they not qualify automatically as the top open club in Eastern Province at the end of the 2013 season.

The reigning Grand Challenge champions suffered their first defeat since the opening round of the Community Cup in February when they were beaten 49-25 last Saturday by Varsity Cup semi-finalists NMMU Madibaz at the students’ Port Elizabeth campus – a result which would have given their rivals plenty of encouragement.

Bloemfontein Crusaders made history when they became the first wild card in the short history of the Community Cup to re-qualify by right, as Free State’s top open club.

Centurion are the first new faces for 2014 after they finished second on the final Blue Bulls Carlton League log following a draw with league winners and Varsity Cup champions Tukkies, and a surprise victory over Pretoria Police, who finished sixth overall in this year’s Community Cup and whose absence from next year’s line-up will count as a major surprise.

Centurion will now want to show that their qualification was no fluke by winning the coveted Carlton Cup for only the second time in their history. They face another resurgent club in Oostelikes on Saturday in the first Carlton semi-final, at the LC de Villiers Stadium in Pretoria (kick-off 14h50).

In the second semi-final, defending Carlton champions Police, who eventually finished fourth after a defeat at the hands of Oostelikes last weekend, will want to put their recent disappointments behind them and retain the trophy, but they will need to bounce back strongly if they want to challenge student arch-rivals Tukkies in the second semi.

Down south, Community Cup wild cards SK Walmers must beat neighbours Hamiltons on Saturday at the Green Point Track if they are to have a realistic hope of finishing the season as the highest-placed open club in the Western Province Super League A.

Hamiltons and Durbanville-Bellville, who finished fifth overall in George earlier this year, are currently neck and neck in the qualification race and a win for Hammies over their fierce Green Point rivals on Saturday will take the country’s oldest club, and 2009 national club champions, one step closer to their goal.

There’s an equally fierce battle brewing in Griquas country, where the Super League’s two unbeaten sides, Aveng Moolmans Sishen and Kimberley, meet at the Sivos Stadium in Kathu on Saturday (kick-off 16h00) in what is a potential league and Community Cup qualifying decider.

Giving the two sides added motivation is the fact that the iconic Gold Cup will be travelling to the Northern Cape mining town from SARU’s headquarters in Cape Town, on the next leg of a nationwide journey as part of the build-up to next year’s Community Cup. The priceless Gold Cup has been around for nearly a century and is the most valuable trophy in South African rugby after the Absa Currie Cup.

And in the Eastern Cape, a capacity crowd is expected at the Rosedale Sports Ground outside Uitenhage for one of the biggest rivalries in South African club rugby, as Gardens host Progress.

Both teams are still in the running for a Community Cup slot in what is proving to be a fiercely fought Grand Challenge competition. With NMMU leading the standings on 31 points and Despatch in second place on 30, Gardens are tied third with Harlequins six points back in a chasing bunch of seven clubs separated by just three points.

Gardens (24) however have the luxury of having played one match fewer than Harlequins (24), Crusaders (23), African Bombers (21) and Park (21), which means their main competition in any possible breakaway from the main bunch may well be fifth-placed Spring Rose (23), who, like Gardens, have a match in hand.

But such is the nature of Grand Challenge rugby that not even ninth-placed Progress, who have 18 points, are out of contention just yet as the competition reaches the halfway stage, and a victory over Gardens in the Uitenhage derby will make for an intriguing second half of the season.

Progress have never quite reached the lofty heights of 2006, when, as a wild card, they beat Maties at the Danie Craven Stadium in the old national club championships, but they have shown signs of revival this year by reaching the final of the increasingly popular and prestigious pre-season Eastern Cape Super 12 competition, which is sponsored by the Eastern Cape government and which feature the the top six clubs from EP and Border.

Gardens, meanwhile, have never quite fulfilled their potential but will be realistic title contenders should they beat Progress on Saturday and then Despatch and NMMU in the coming weeks.

Elsewhere around the country, Roses United will want to maintain their unbeaten record in the Boland Premier League when they travel to Wellington, Border champions Broubart Old Selbornian are at home to Police in a keenly anticipated East London derby, and Roodepoort and Wits will clash in a top-of-the-table Golden Lions Pirates Grand Challenge match at the Rand Leases Sports Ground.

Crusaders will host Durban Collegians in the KZN Moor Cup on Friday night in what is possibly a tussle to see who finishes second behind College Rovers in the league, although both teams still have realistic ambitions of lifting the historic trophy at the end of next month.

Up north, Springs host Community Cup bronze medallists Brakpan in the Valke Peregrine League while log leaders Ferro’s will want to continue their purple patch of form when they welcome Nelspruit to Witbank on Saturday in a Mpumalanga Buscor League match.


This weekend’s nationwide Premier League club fixtures (as supplied to SARU by its provincial unions):

Blue Bulls – Carlton Cup, Saturday (Semi-finals):

Tukkies vs Pretoria Police

Centurion vs Oostelikes


Blue Bulls Limpopo – Boet Fick Senior League, Saturday (Round 3 of 10):

Noordelikes vs Messina

Pietersburg vs Louis Trichardt

Letaba vs Loskop


Boland – Premier League, Saturday (Round 8 of 18):

Ceres vs Villagers Worcester

Saldanha vs Vredenburg

Black Leaves vs Wesbank

Wellington vs Roses Utd


Border – Premier League, Saturday (Round 7 of 9):

Pool A:

Breakers vs Young Leopards

Buffalo vs Berlin Tigers

Ntlaza Lions vs All Blacks

Swallows vs Africans

Wallabies vs Winter Rose

Pool B:

King Brumbies vs Ready Blues

Ngculu Zebras vs Fort Hare Blues

Ocean Sweepers vs Evergreen

Old Collegians vs Cambridge

Old Selbornians vs Police


EP – Grand Challenge, Saturday (Round 8 of 16):

Gardens vs Progress

Crusaders vs Brumbies

Orlando Eagles vs Kruisfontein

Utd Barbarians vs St Marks

African Bombers vs SAPS

Park vs Spring Rose

Harlequins vs NMMU


Free State – 1st League, Friday/Saturday (Final round):

Irawas vs Shimlas

Crusaders vs Ixias

Police vs Tjisas


Golden Lions – Pirates Grand Challenge/Predator, Friday/Saturday (Round 8 of 11):

Diggers vs UJ

Roodepoort vs Wits

Wanderers vs Pukke

Raiders vs Alberton

Randfontein vs Union


Griffons – 1st League, Friday (Round 9 of 12):

Welkom vs Welkom Rovers

Henneman vs Kroonstad


Griquas – Super League, Saturday (Round 10 of 14):

Aveng Moolmans Sishen vs Kimberley Police

Upington United vs Kuruman

Upington Dorp vs Postmasburg


KZN – Fidelity Security Moor Cup, Friday (Round 9 of 14):

Crusaders vs Durban Collegians

Harlequins vs UKZN Impi

PMB Collegians vs Varsity College

Zululand Rhinos vs College Rovers


Leopards – Neser A League, Saturday (Round 9 of 10):

Matlosana vs Potch Dorp

Leeudoringstad vs Lichtenburg

Hartbeesfontein vs Vryburg


Mpumalanga – Buscor Super League, Saturday (Round 10 of 14):

Witrivier vs Sasol

Middelburg vs Lydenburg Rooikatte

Witbank Ferros vs Nelspruit


SWD – Premier League, Saturday (Round 11 of 22):

Uniondale vs Bridgton

Progress vs Bonnievale Utd

Barbarians vs Blanco

Groot-Brakrivier vs Crusaders

Evergreens vs Silver Stars

All Blacks vs Swellendam


Valke – Peregrine Super League, Saturday (Round 8 of 10):

NWU Vaal Pukke vs Kempton Wolves

Springs vs Brakpan


WP – Super League A, Saturday (Week 10 of 24):

Durb-Bell vs Belhar

SK Walmers vs Hamiltons

Helderberg vs Bellville

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