RUGBY-PROVINCES by Grant Shimmin
JOHANNESBURG Oct 17 Sapa
14 PROVINCES LIKELY TO CONTEST CURRIE CUP
Four*** of the country's provincial rugby unions will contest
next year's Currie Cup competition, in two equal strength pools,
provided the latest proposal concerning the demarcation of unions
for next season is approved.
Pool A is Natal, Transvaal, Eastern Province, Border, Western
Transvaal, South Eastern Transvaal and Boland, with Pool B
consisting of Western Province, Northern Transvaal, Free State,
Griqualand West, Northern Free State, Eastern Transvaal and
The two pools will play a double round of fixtures, with the
top two finishers in each qualifying for the 1997 Super 12 and the
top four in each going through to the Currie Cup quarter-finals.
It is difficult to predict the dynamics of a new competition, but it seems
that the Currie Cup will effectively be a knock-out competition, since
the traditional test unions (except maybe EP) should reach the top
4 of their respective pools. Since the Lion Cup is scrapped, this
might be seen as OK. The Currie Cup will thus combine both
the league and knock-out elements of the old Currie Cup and Lion Cups.
Even though the Currie Cup will run in parallel with the Tri Nation Test
series (which I like and referred to in another post) I guess all the
Springboks would be available in the important knock-out stage.
I wonder whether the pools would be juggled from year to year according
to the performances of the previous year, in order to even-up the
competition? Otherwise a team like EP (behind Natal and Tvl) would
effectively be blocked from the Super 12 for the forseeable (sp?)
Does anybody know what sort of money a player from, say,
South Western Districts, can expect. Surely they would still
be effectively amateur. Is SARFU paying their match fees from
the Murdoch millions?
Also, how will the club competitions be arranged within the
new amalgamated provincial unions? Will they keep regional
club competitions along the lines of the old unions?
Does anyone have the definitive list of which unions were swallowed
by the 14 unions? Like Stellaland -> Griqualand West;
Northern Natal -> Natal; Far North -> NTvl; Lowveldt -> E Tvl. etc.
Will the u13 and u19 Craven Week teams come from the new 14 unions?