Cape Town - The Currie Cup will return to a more intense, strength-versus-strength format this year following a decision of a Special General Council of SA Rugby in Cape Town on Friday.
The Premier Division of the Currie Cup will contract from nine to seven teams.
The winners of an eight-team First Division (including a representative team from Namibia) will play a promotion challenge series against the last-placed Premier Division team.
The new format will see the return of mid-week rugby with each of the teams scheduled to play a number of week day matches during the season.
The Premier Division teams were determined on the last season’s top six plus the Pumas, who had the best record of the rest in the competition over the past five years.
The Currie Cup Premier Division will comprise of the Free State Cheetahs, Golden Lions, Western Province, Sharks, Blue Bulls, Griquas and Pumas.
The Currie Cup First Division will feature Boland, Griffons, Valke, Leopards, Eastern Province, Border, SWD and Weltwitschias (Namibia).
They will play a single round.
The tournament kicks off on Saturday, August 12, the week after the final of Super Rugby.
The final takes place on Saturday, October 28.