SARU unveils Community Cup

2012-09-20 11:38

Cape Town - The revival of club rugby in South Africa received a major boost on Thursday with the announcement that a new televised national tournament for non-university clubs would kick off in 2013.

The inaugural SARU Community Cup, which will replace the existing National Club Championships, will begin on Saturday 16 February 2013, with 20 of the country's top “open” clubs competing in a format identical to that of the Rugby World Cup.

The tournament will culminate in an annual Grand Final to determine the overall national club champion between the winners of the Community Cup and the winners of the FNB Varsity Cup, presented by Steinhoff International. An “open” club traditionally refers to a non-Varsity club.

“Club rugby is one of most important items on our agenda and we believe that the SARU Community Cup will breathe new life into club rugby,” said SARU CEO Jurie Roux. “It will act as a catalyst for the revival of the club game at all levels across the country.

“Club rugby has suffered from a lack of exposure and sponsorship, since the advent of professionalism.

“What the SARU Community Cup will do is give club players and coaches a competitive platform and an aspirational event through which they can reach their goals.”

Roux said the tournament would start with 20 clubs, but plans were already in place to expand the competition over the succeeding two years by introducing a separate division for platteland-based clubs and junior teams. “The revival of rugby on the platteland is of particular importance,” said Roux.

The 20 clubs will be made up of the 14 champion clubs of the provincial unions, with a further six wildcard teams invited by SARU. The clubs will be divided into four pools of five, with each club playing two home and two away matches over a period of five weeks.

The top two clubs from each pool will then advance to the knockout stages, with the eight teams playing quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals each year at a central venue over the Easter long weekend.

The inaugural SARU Community Cup final will be played on Easter Monday, 1 April 2013, with the remaining six teams competing for the Plate, Shield and Bowl.

“The beauty of the format of the Community Cup is that it incorporates the best of both worlds,” said Roux. “Pool matches will take place in towns and cities across the country and give the tournament as diverse a flavour and footprint as possible.

“The play-off component will revive the very special atmosphere of the old Easter Club Championships, which club people still speak about with great fondness.”

Roux said that the success of this year's new-look SARU National Club Championships in Rustenburg, which conclude at the Rustenburg Impala club tomorrow (Friday) with televised Cup and Plate finals (SuperSport 1, kick-off 13:00), had demonstrated the importance of a separate national competition for open clubs.

“The universities have been a part of the Club Champs since it started in 1975, but times have changed, especially since the advent of the very successful Varsity Cup,” he said.

“We've seen what that competition has done for Varsity rugby, and we therefore felt that this year was the right time to test the waters and not include them,” said Roux. “The tournament has been a runaway success, with big crowds, high-quality rugby and a feeling of kinship and solidarity amongst the competing clubs.

“We now want to take things to a new level and give the best open clubs the platforms and exposure they deserve.”

Roux emphasised that the Community Cup was only the first step in SARU’s strategy to revamp club rugby, which also included plans for the revival of the SA Amateur and SA Platteland teams in the coming years.

“We have been working behind the scenes for the past three years to ensure that the SARU Community Cup has a far-reaching effect,” said Roux. “We have consulted club people in every province and listened to what they had to say. This is therefore not our vision but their vision and their competition.

“But far from being an elitist tournament for a handful of teams, the SARU Community Cup will allow us to safeguard the future of club rugby across the country by ensuring that it reclaims its rightful place on the rugby stage.”


  • kingriaan - 2012-09-20 11:52

    Long overdue, yet an excellent initiative. Have to give credit to SARU for their commitment to revive club rugby. Now they just need to do away with the totally useless Vodacom Cup as well. Then Club rugby should become the new feeder system for provincial teams.

      bobese.manyani - 2012-09-20 12:26

      True Kingriaan the Vodacom Cup does not really serve the purpose perhaps the winner of the Community cup should qualify to play for the Vodacom cup if it still exists. Teams keep on playing for Vodacom cup whilst they perform terrible like Border.

  • Eddie.Minora - 2012-09-20 12:31

    definitely long overdue, now SARU needs to look at a tournament placeof Superugby so that all unions in SA can join in.

      marcel.jones.73 - 2012-09-20 13:33

      its called the currie cup idiot.

  • lisa.racussen - 2012-09-20 12:44

    I think that this is a promising start.Next we need to scrap the super 15,and boost the importance of our inter-provincial Currie Cup competition.This would broaden interest in rugby in more outlying areas.Cut down on unwieldy,expensive international competitions- also reduce the number of tests and field the strongest available team in each game,so that tests regain their position as a true test of a country"s strength.At the moment we have far too many so-called 'tests',fielding under-strength teams,which come and go,often hardly noticed by the man in the street.

      kingriaan - 2012-09-20 12:58

      All we need to scrap is the Vodacom cup. The Varsity Cup and now the Community Cup and all that goes with those two comps like the youth teams and platteland teams should become feeder for the provinces. The added attraction will cause a lot huge player growth as a lot of guys stop playing after school. The greater player numbers will increase the smaller provinces teams up to the point that the Currie Cup will be able to be increased to 14 teams again.

  • patti.king.7374 - 2012-09-20 13:13

    Great news;this will definately uplift club players because of the exposure they will get.thumbs up for saru

  • lodewyk.fred - 2012-09-20 13:27

    Televised where, on Supersport, yes that would really be a Community Cup. Lot of exposure in the rural areas there.

      roger.freeman.7505 - 2012-09-20 13:48

      lol you're telling me. Let's hope the out of touch management at the SABC jump on this before its to late. sadly, i fear it may already be. this should definately be SABC or ETV Free to Air

  • gkleingeld - 2012-09-20 13:34

    Just told my co-worker who is still involved at Durbanville rugby club, he got so excited he wanted to start playing again, hope this helps the clubs stand on their own feet, getting subsidised by the unions is not the future.

      jacques.duplessis.566148 - 2012-09-20 14:05

      Let clubs stand on their own feet? wtf? Weet jy dat Durbell al spelers kontrakteur teen provinsiale tariewe. Daar is nie n tekort daar aan geld nie. Dis wat sleg is, die ryk klubs gaan net nog ryker raak. Kyk wat het Durbell se geld hul gehelp by die klub champs....... NIKS!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • cape.maori - 2012-09-20 13:46

    Thank you SARU!!! Now the Bulls can compete in the league where they belong!!

      dewald.botha.50 - 2012-09-20 14:28

      Your comment are prove that you can wright and function on halve a brain!

      eugene.vandermerwe - 2012-09-20 14:43

      Dewald, Your spelling and grammer "are prove that you can wright and function on halve a brain!" Really dude. . . . . W.P. groete uit Pretoria

  • dewald.botha.50 - 2012-09-20 14:30

    Can't be SARU's idea! They must have stole the idea from Meyer or Rassie!

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