Gold Cup: All eyes – and cameras – on Rustenburg

Oct 7 • General News • 1362 Views • Comments Off on Gold Cup: All eyes – and cameras – on Rustenburg

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All eyes will be on the North West city of Rustenburg on Saturday when the drama of the final round of the Gold Cup – SA Rugby’s three-nation championship for non-university clubs – is broadcast to an international television audience.

Unbeaten Pool B leaders Impala (15 points), the 2014 champions and last year’s runners-up, will host second-placed Pirates (Golden Lions, 10pts) in a match the Johannesburg team must win in order to stand a chance of qualifying for next weekend’s quarter-finals.

The game will be televised live on SuperSport 1/HD at 13h15.

“In terms of exposure and prominence, it doesn’t get much bigger than this in club rugby,” said SA Rugby CEO, Jurie Roux. “A few years ago, we could only dream about regular live TV games for so-called ‘open’ clubs. Now we have a match that is effectively a broadcast curtain-raiser for arguably the biggest game in world rugby, a Springboks-All Blacks Test.

“Club rugby, through the vehicle of the Gold Cup, is rapidly returning to the spotlight and has crept back into the hearts of the rugby public. I encourage all fans to tune in on Saturday and be part of this revival.”

From a tournament perspective, the Rustenburg clash will also be watched with great interest in Namibia, where fourth-placed FNB Wanderers Windhoek (8pts) host third RSK Evergreens of George (10pts) in Windhoek in Pool B’s other crunch clash. The permutations are complex in what has been a hugely competitive group, but in simple terms, should Impala beat Pirates, the winner of the Windhoek match will most likely advance to next Saturday’s quarter-finals.

Pool B might not be the only group requiring calculators on Saturday evening to determine which teams advance to the knockout rounds. In Pool C, Old Georgians of Harare (8pts) – who have surprised friend and foe with two victories in their three matches to date – must beat log-leaders Siyaya Brakpan (14pts) at Bosman Stadium and hope bottom club White River beat second-placed DirectAxis False Bay (11pts) in Cape Town to complete what has been a fairytale tournament debut for the Zimbabwe champions.

In Pool A, with defending champions Durbanville-Bellville and newly-crowned KZN champions Your Communications College Rovers already assured of their quarter-final places, Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash in Cape Town loses none of its bite, with both sides playing to see who gets the all-important home-ground advantage going into the knockout rounds.

“This year’s format change has worked a treat,” said Roux. “In the past, the top eight clubs would play at a central venue, but now there is a massive carrot to secure home-ground advantage, which in turn means home support, more income for the club, TV exposure, and the chance to host the final.

“The change has introduced a completely new dynamic to the Gold Cup and the race to see who hosts knockout games will become even more intriguing when one considers that one of next week’s quarter-finals, both semi-finals, and the final will be broadcast live on SuperSport.”

In this vein, even Pool D, which sees Pretoria Police holding an unassailable lead going into their final group match against East London Police, retains its interest as the Pretoria Bobbies will know that a fourth consecutive bonus-point victory will give them the best possible chance of hosting this year’s final, should they make it that far.

The quarter-final line-up will be confirmed on Saturday evening following the completion of the final round, and will be published exclusively on the @GoldCupRugby Twitter handle and Gold Cup Rugby Facebook page.

Round 5 fixtures (all matches 15h00 unless otherwise indicated):

Saturday 08 October:

Pool A:

Durbanville-Bellville v Your Communications College Rovers (Durbell Rugby Club, Cape Town)

Mike Pendock Motors Old Selbornians v Tiger Wheel & Tyre Welkom Rovers (Mike Pendock Motors Park, East London)

Pool B:

Rustenburg Impala v Pirates (Impala Rugby Club, Rustenburg – 13h30 live on SuperSport 1/HD)

FNB Wanderers Windhoek v RSK Evergreens (Wanderers Club, Windhoek)

Pool C:

Siyaya Brakpan v Old Georgians (Bosman Stadium, Brakpan)

DirectAxis False Bay v White River (Phillip Herbstein Field, Constantia, Cape Town)

Pool D:

Bloemfontein Police v Belaz Sishen (Bobbies Park, Bloemfontein)

Pretoria Police v East London Police (Loftus Versfeld B, Pretoria)


Issued by SA Rugby Communications

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