National Clubs Round-up – Roodepoort latest to qualify for Club Champs

Jul 18 • Club Rugby, General News, National, Varsity & Club • 1671 Views • Comments Off on National Clubs Round-up – Roodepoort latest to qualify for Club Champs

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Roodepoort Rugby Club will represent the Golden Lions at the 2012 SARU National Club Championships, bringing to six the number of teams who have booked their place at the season-ending tournament.

With just 59 days to go until the Champs, hosted this year by the Leopards Rugby Union, kicks off on 15 September in Rustenburg, Roodepoort will be joined by host club Rustenburg Impala (Leopards), Villagers Worcester (Boland), Durbanville-Bellville (WP), Blanco (SWD) and Sishen (Griqualand West).

The race for the nine remaining automatic qualifying slots will come down to the wire in the coming weeks as provincial premier leagues in a number of provinces reach their climax.

This year’s tournament will not feature any tertiary or university teams, which means that the top-ranked non-tertiary clubs in each of the 14 provinces qualifies automatically. The champion Limpopo side will once again qualify automatically, while SARU will invite one of the provinces’ second-best non-university clubs to round out the 16-team draw.

The identity of this 16th club will be announced in August, once SARU’s Games & Policies Committee have considered candidates nominated by all 14 provinces.

The first round of eight matches will be played on Saturday 15 September, with Cup and Plate quarter-finals scheduled for Monday 17 September, and semi-finals on Wednesday 19 September. The Cup and Plate finals will take place on Friday 21 September.

One province where the race is too tight to call is Free State, where Bloemfontein Crusaders and Bloemfontein Police are separated by just one log point with two rounds remaining.

Crusaders and Police are the only so-called ‘open’ clubs that compete in the six-team City League, with Varsity teams Shimlas and CUT, and their second teams, Irawas and Tjisas respectively, making up the rest of the field.

The Bobbies have beaten Crusaders both home and away this season but trail their rivals by one point on the table thanks to Crusaders’ 33-22 victory over Tjisas last month, which gave the Heidedal side a vital bonus point.

This weekend sees Police travel to the University of the Free State campus to play FNB Shimlas, while Crusaders host Irawas at the Clive Solomon Stadium. Next weekend’s final round sees Crusaders travel to FNB CUT and Bobbies playing Tjisas.

Police sides are in the running in at least three provinces, with the Pretoria Bobbies virtually assured of their place after a 22-7 victory over nearest challengers Centurion in last weekend’s Carlton League action. Naka Bulle, meanwhile, move to third following an 83-7 win over Harlequins.

East London Police top the Border Super League with four rounds remaining, the Buffalo City Bobbies holding a slender two-point advantage over Old Selbornians, with defending champions Winter Rose trailing in fifth behind Buffalo and Fort Hare.

And in other results, Valke heavyweight clubs Brakpan and Springs upset the apple cart in the Predator Super League with victories over Roodepoort (39-29) and Rustenburg Impala (29-28) respectively.

The wins move Brakpan up to sixth and Springs up to seventh in the latest Predator standings, with Brakpan the front-runner for the Valke Club Champs qualifying slot following their 34-24 win over Springs last month.

KZN champions Jonsson College Rovers are more than likely just one win away from Club Champs qualification as well as retaining the Fidelity Security Moor Cup for a seventh successive season, following their 76-12 away win over Pietermaritzburg Collegians.

Second-placed Acer Durban Collegians, who trail Rovers by just five points with two rounds remaining, kept up the pressure with a 55-7 win over third-placed Varsity College in a curtain-raiser to the Sharks’ Vodacom Super Rugby match at Mr Price Kings Park last weekend.

And further north, the fight for the Mpumalanga title is hotting up after Bethal beat Sasol 42-27 last weekend to claim the province’s Protours Highveld league title. Bethal will now play the Lowveld’s leading team, White River, on 3 August for the overall title.

The winner of this match will then face either Middelburg or Witbank Ferros – both of whom play in the cross-border Merlin League against second-tier Leopards and Valke clubs – for the right to play in the Club Championships.

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