New competition to change rugby landscape

2017-04-10 14:42
Jurie Roux (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Rugby festivals at five different venues across the breadth and depth of South Africa - with provincial and club teams in action - will be a key feature of the SuperSport Rugby Challenge, the exciting new competition launched by SA Rugby and SuperSport in Johannesburg on Monday.

Bill Jardine Stadium, where the SuperSport Rugby Challenge was launched, is one of the five venues that will host Rugby Festival Days in the coming months. This is one of the fresh initiatives of the new competition, which will see four provincial teams and two local club sides contest for glory in three consecutive, televised matches from the same ground.

The Rugby Festivals will aim to embrace local communities to come out to support local clubs, as well as their provincial team in what promises to provide massive exposure to players and help establish new heroes in communities and provinces.

Other venues that will host Rugby Festival Days - all of them on Sundays - are the Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth, Impala Rugby Club in Rustenburg, the venue of last year’s club rugby Gold Cup Final, East London (venue to be confirmed) and Bridgton Sports Grounds in Oudtshoorn, with a minimum of four hours of rugby action offered to spectators TV viewers.

SuperSport confirmed that all live matches will be broadcast on SuperSport Select (channel 210), which is available to subscribers of all of the broadcaster’s packages, including Premium, Extra, Compact, Family and Access. Where scheduling allows, these matches will also be available on SuperSport One - to cater for high definition viewing.

The competition, which will also include Namibia’s Welwitschias, kicks off on 21 April and will be divided into three regions - north, south and central - with local bragging rights up for grabs.

The first Rugby Festival will take place at the Wolfson Stadium on Sunday 23 April and will see local clubs African Bombers and PE Harlequins face off in an appetizing start to the day, followed by SuperSport Rugby Challenge clashes between Border and Boland, with the final match between EP Kings and DHL Western Province.

“The SuperSport Rugby Challenge will take professional rugby to places it has never been before,” said SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux. 

“A new playing day, new venues and new match schedules will set the SuperSport Rugby Challenge apart. We’re very excited to see the response to moving some of the matches away from the professional venues, as the passion for the game burns brightly in our rugby heartlands, and together with SuperSport this is precisely where we will be going to share that excitement.

“When you take rugby back to its roots, club rugby is a vital part of the mix. There is a historic link between club and provincial rugby that has largely been lost in the professional era. The SuperSport Rugby Challenge will hopefully change that by also showcasing some of South Africa’s biggest provincial club derbies.”

The 15 teams are divided into three geographical pools, with each playing home and away against the other four teams in their pool over the 10-week period. Six-pool matches will be played every weekend for 10 weeks, followed by seven knockout games.

The top two teams from each Pool, together with the two third-placed teams with the most log points, will qualify for the quarter-finals, which will take place on Sunday 2 July, followed by the semi-finals a week later and the final on Sunday 16 July.

“We are involved because we believe in taking rugby back to the people,” said Gideon Khobane, SuperSport Chief Executive.

“There’s a huge appetite for first class rugby beyond the usual centres and teams themselves have expressed a willingness to do so. This tournament will add another layer to SA rugby’s great nursery and hopefully produce players who will become heroes in their communities.

“We at SuperSport are excited to be bringing the best of community rugby to urban and rural areas. We also look forward to unveiling some exciting broadcast initiatives and want to be a part of something special, something that nurtures the massive wealth of talent out there.”

To add even more value to the product, SuperSport has embarked on a commentator search with the winners being utilised during matches. This will include English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa commentators.

The tournament will also be used to upskill existing MultiChoice Diski Challenge learnership graduates and Craven 2016 trainees and offer on-the-job training to tertiary institution graduates.

SuperSport Rugby Challenge Pools:

North: Blue Bulls, Xerox Golden Lions, Valke, Pumas, Namibia Welwitschias

Central: Free State Cheetahs, Griffons, Griquas, Leopards, Sharks XV

South: Boland Cavaliers, Border Bulldogs, EP Kings, SWD Eagles, Western Province


Please note: home teams named first, certain venues and kick-off times must still be confirmed

Friday 21 April

Sharks XV v Griquas (venue TBC)

Saturday 22 April

Blue Bulls v Pumas (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria at 14:30)

Hino Valke v Namibia Welwitschias (Barnard Stadium, Kempton Park at 15:00)

Griffons v Leopards (HT Pelatona Projects Stadium, Welkom at 15:00)

Sunday 23 April - Rugby Festival (all matches on SS1 and SS Select)

African Bombers v PE Harlequins (Wolfson Stadium, Port Elizabeth at 10:30)

Border Bulldogs v Boland Cavaliers (Wolfson Stadium, Port Elizabeth at 13:00)

EP Kings v DHL Western Province (Wolfson Stadium, Port Elizabeth at 15:00)

Friday 28 April

SWD Eagles v EP Kings (Outeniqua Park, George at 19:00)

Saturday 29 April

Free State Cheetahs XV v Griffons (Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein at 14:30 - broadcast on SS Select at 20:00)

Griquas v Leopards (Hoërskool Diamantveld, Kimberley at 15:00)

Namibia Welwitschias v Blue Bulls (venue TBC)

Steval Pumas v Golden Lions (KaNyamazane, Nelspruit at 15:00)

Western Province v Border Bulldogs (venue TBC)

Friday 5 May

Leopards v Free State Cheetahs XV (Olen Park, Potchefstroom at 18:00)

Border Bulldogs v SWD Eagles (venue TBC at 19:15)

Saturday 6 May

Blue Bulls v Valke (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria at 14:30 - broadcast on SS1/SS Select at 20:00)

Golden Lions v Namibia Welwitschias (venue TBC)

Griffons v Sharks XV (venue TBC)

Boland Cavaliers v Western Province (venue TBC)

Friday 12 May

Free State Cheetahs XV v Griquas (Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein at 15:00)

SWD Eagles v Boland Cavaliers (Outeniqua Park, George at 19:00)

Saturday 13 May

EP Kings v Border Bulldogs (Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth at 14:30 - broadcast on SS1 and SS Select at 20:00)

Sharks XV v Leopards (Kings Park Stadium 2, Durban at 15:00)

Sunday 14 May - Rugby Festival (all matches on SS1 and SS Select)

Raiders v Wanderers (Bill Jardine Stadium, Johannesburg at 10:30)

Pumas v Namibia Welwitschias (Bill Jardine Stadium, Johannesburg at 13:00)

Golden Lions v Hino Valke (Bill Jardine Stadium, Johannesburg at 15:00)

Friday 19 May

Western Province v SWD Eagles (Newlands, Cape Town at 16:30 - SS1)

Saturday 20 May

Golden Lions v Blue Bulls (venue TBC)

EP Kings v Boland Cavaliers (venue TBC)

Valke v Pumas (Barnard Stadium, Kempton Park at 15:00)

Sharks XV v Toyota Free State Cheetahs XV (venue TBC)

Griffons v Griquas (venue TBC)

Saturday 27 May

Pumas v Blue Bulls (Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit at 15:00)

Namibia Welwitschias v Valke (venue TBC)

Western Province v EP Kings (venue TBC)

Boland Cavaliers v Border Bulldogs (venue TBC)

Sunday 28 May - Rugby Festival (all matches on SS1 and SS Select)

Rustenburg Impala v QBR (Impala RFC, Rustenburg at 09:30)

Griffons v Free State Cheetahs XV (Impala RFC, Rustenburg at 12:00)

Leopards v Tafel Lager Griquas (Impala RFC, Rustenburg at 14:00)

Friday 2 June

Free State Cheetahs XV v Leopards (Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein at 15:00)

Saturday 3 June

Blue Bulls v Namibia Welwitschias (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria)

Golden Lions v Steval Pumas (Ellis Park, Johannesburg)

Sharks XV v Griffons (venue TBC)

Sunday 4 June - Rugby Festival (all matches on SS1 and SS Select)

Swallows v Winter Rose (East London at 10:30)

EP Kings v SWD Eagles (East London at 13:00)

Border Bulldogs v Western Province (East London at 15:00)

Friday 9 June

Valke v Blue Bulls (Barnard Stadium, Kempton Park at 15:00)

SWD Eagles v Border Bulldogs (Outeniqua Park, George at 19:00)

Saturday 10 June

Griquas v Free State Cheetahs XV (Tafel Lager Park, Kimberley at 14:00 - broadcast on SS1)

Namibia Welwitschias v Golden Lions (venue TBC)

Leopards v Sharks XV (Profert Olen Park, Potchefstroom at 15:00)

Western Province v Boland Cavaliers (venue TBC)

Thursday 15 June

Border Bulldogs v EP Kings (venue TBC at 15h00 - broadcast on SS1/SS Select)

Friday 16 June

Valke v Golden Lions (Barnard Stadium, Kempton Park at 14:30 - broadcast on SS1/SS Select)

Leopards v Griffons (Olen Park, Potchefstroom at 18:00)

Saturday 17 June

Boland Cavaliers v SWD Eagles (Malmesbury at 15:00)

Namibia Welwitschias v Steval Pumas (Hage Geingob Stadium, Windhoek at 15:00)

Griquas v Sharks XV (Tafel Lager Park, Kimberley)

Friday 23 June

Blue Bulls v Xerox Golden Lions (venue TBC)

Saturday 24 June

Boland Cavaliers v EP Kings (venue TBC)

Pumas v Valke (Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit at 15:00)

Free State Cheetahs XV v Sharks XV (Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein at 15:00)

Griquas v Griffons (Tafel Lager Park, Kimberley)

Sunday 25 June - Rugby Festival (all matches on SS1 and SS Select)

Evergreens v Hawston (Bridgton Sports Grounds, Oudtshoorn at 10:30)

Bridgton v Progress (Bridgton Sports Grounds, Oudtshoorn at 13:00)

SWD Eagles v Western Province (Bridgton Sports Grounds, Oudtshoorn at 15:00)

Sunday 2 July

Quarter-finals (12:00 and 14:30 - live on SS1 and SS2)

Sunday 9 July

Semi-finals (12:00 and 14:30 - live on SS1 and SS2)

Sunday 16 July

Final (14:30 - live on SS1)

Read more on:    supersport rugby challenge  |  rugby


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