SA Cup kicks off in Kimberley on Human Rights Day

SA Cup kicks off in Kimberley on Human Rights Day

The inaugural SA Cup competition will get off to a flyer on Human Rights Day with an exciting clash between the Suzuki Griquas and Leopards in Kimberley.

Meanwhile, last year's Currie Cup Premier and First Division champions collide in Bloemfontein on Friday.

A total of 46 matches will be staged during the new competition, which will mark the official launch of the local provincial season for 2024. One of the interesting features of this competition is the inclusion of five Sunday afternoon fixtures staged across the country.

The SA Cup serves as an important bridge between pre-season and the beginning of the Currie Cup Premier and First Division competitions, effectively replacing the Mzansi Challenge from 2023.

The new competition will involve ten provincial teams (excluding those with a United Rugby Championship franchise team) who will compete against each other over a span of nine consecutive weeks.

In 2025, the top four teams from the "SA Cup" competition will join the four URC franchises in the Currie Cup Premier Division, with the remaining six teams contesting the First Division. Both competitions will culminate in semi-finals and a final.

The first whistle in the SA Cup will go at 15h00 in Kimberley on Thursday.

This encounter in the Diamond City is the first of five games scheduled between Thursday and Sunday, with two games showcased on SuperSport's linear channels, while the remaining three will be streamed live on SuperSport Schools.

Apart from Thursday's opener in Kimberley, there are two matches scheduled for Friday. First up, the Phangela SWD Eagles host the Airlink Pumas at the picturesque Outeniqa Park in George at 15h30.

Later on Friday, at 18h00, the 2023 Currie Cup Premier Division champions, the Toyota Cheetahs, host the Sanlam Boland Kavaliers, who won the Currie Cup First Division last year.

Saturday sees the Valke hit the road for their away game with Eastern Province in Gqeberha, while the NovaVit Griffons entertain the Border Bulldogs in Welkom in Sunday's only clash at 15h00, which will also wrap up a busy opening round of action.

When the league phase of this single-round competition is eventually completed, the top two sides on the standings will battle it out for honours when the SA Cup Final will be staged on the weekend of 25 May.

To recap what happened last season on the domestic front - the Toyota Cheetahs clinched the Currie Cup Premier Division title over 2022 champions, the Airlink Pumas; and the Sanlam Boland Kavaliers captured the Currie Cup First Division after they beat the Valke - champions in the Mzansi Challenge - in the final.

Match information:

Suzuki Griquas vs Leopards

Date: Thursday, 21 March

Venue: Suzuki Stadium, Kimberley

Referee: Paul MenteSA Time: 15h00

Streaming: SS Schools

Phangela SWD Eagles vs Airlink Pumas

Date: Friday, 22 March

Venue: Outeniqua Park, George

Referee: AJ Jacobs

SA Time: 15h30

Streaming: SS Schools

Toyota Cheetahs vs Sanlam Boland Kavaliers

Date: Friday, 22 March

Venue: Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein

Referee: Christopher Allison

SA Time: 18h00

TV: SS Rugby

Eastern Province vs Valke

Date: Saturday, 23 March

Venue: Wolfson Stadium, Gqeberha

Referee: Stephan Geldenhuys

SA Time: 15h00

Streaming: SS Schools

NovaVit Griffons vs Border Bulldogs

Date: Sunday, 24 March

Venue: Down Touch Investment Stadium, Welkom

Referee: Paul Mente

SA Time: 15h00

TV: SS Rugby

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