New (XXL) Currie Cup format is revealed

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content on 14 Dec 2015 at 09:51
Tagged with : , , , , ,

SARU’s General Council on Friday ratified a decision to completely re-jig the Currie Cup competition for the 2016 season. The new, greatly expanded competition, runs from April until October and will feature an incredible 166 matches.

In order for this new mega-competition to be accommodated, the unloved and unlovable Vodacom Cup has been scrapped. Don’t get too excited about that news, however, since the first stage of the Currie Cup, which runs concurrently with Super Rugby, will be of a similar standard to the competition it replaces. Running from April to July, this “qualifying phase” comprises team from all fourteen South African provincial unions, along with new entrant Namibia. The fifteen teams (nine of whom will be at full strength, the other six significantly weaker) will play a single round of matches against each other, meaning a pretty packed calendar of fourteen games each in a four-month period.

Once Super Rugby is over, the Currie Cup splits into two divisions, for a further single round of matches. The Premier division contains nine teams – the six Super Rugby franchise teams are guaranteed their places (that is, the Sharks, Blue Bulls, Western Province, Golden Lions, EP Kings and Free State Cheetahs), while the remaining three places go to whichever non-franchise teams accumulated the most log points during the qualifying phase. The remaining six non-franchise teams compete for the First Division title, also over a (presumably shorter) single round of games.

Premier Division teams thus play eight regular “second stage” games, and First Division teams only five. Points from the first stage are not carried over to the second and the top four teams in each division will go on to play semi-finals and a final as before.

Also confirmed is a major change to age-group competition structures. The six franchise teams plus the Leopards (who have a strong junior program and academy) will continue to contest under 19 and under 21 competitions as before, but for the remaining seven unions, only a single under 20 competition will feature.


  • I like the way this works, a little like how the F.A. Cup of rugby, if only SR was more like the Champions League, or any League that makes sense for that matter.

    Curious how the Kings can possible expect to have enough players for two teams?

  • Comment 1, posted at 14.12.15 09:55:04 by Seth101 Reply
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  • @Seth101 (Comment 1) : Personally I think it would be way more interesting if the SR teams weren’t guaranteed a premier spot, make them fight or it.

  • Comment 2, posted at 14.12.15 09:59:14 by Seth101 Reply
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  • Too much rugby. Star player burnout a major concern.

  • Comment 3, posted at 14.12.15 10:03:39 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 3) : I like it, forces the bigger sides to invest in squad depth much like football teams have to.

  • Comment 4, posted at 14.12.15 10:06:28 by Seth101 Reply
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  • On the positive at least the comp is a bit streamlined. Will Varsity Cup be done by April? If not some of the smaller teams will be pretty weak.

  • Comment 5, posted at 14.12.15 10:07:14 by SheldonK Reply

  • @Seth101 (Comment 2) : I agree.

  • Comment 6, posted at 14.12.15 10:12:21 by SheldonK Reply

  • I’m looking forward to (hopefully) a great opportunity for Horak and Zondagh to continue the work they started with 😡 last year’s under 21 side.

    Use this competition with its 14 matches as a proper way to develop our age-group players. The best ones will augment the depleted Super Rugby squad for Currie Cup proper, the others will play under 21 rugby.

  • Comment 7, posted at 14.12.15 10:18:50 by robdylan Reply
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  • How would the coaching work, since the initial phase is running concurrently with the Super Rugby.

    Will there be a completely new coach that runs the Currie Cup, and the then carries on after the Super Rugby, or does the Super Rugby coach take over at that point. Will be interesting to see how the Sharks approach this given Roberts new role.

  • Comment 8, posted at 14.12.15 10:30:14 by stevovo Reply
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  • @Seth101 (Comment 4) : There are some positives but will sides implement proper rotation even when they have big squads and more importantly, when will I lose interest because of too many matches? Quality over quantity for me please.

  • Comment 9, posted at 14.12.15 10:43:24 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @stevovo (Comment 8) : Isnt Rob DuPreez meant to coach the CC proper side? So i imagine he will oversee the intial rounds with the u21 guys mainly in charge and then resume full control once CC proper starts with the u21 guys doing the u21s. Well that would be the logical way. Im assuming it will be some type of overlap like that

  • Comment 10, posted at 14.12.15 10:44:35 by SheldonK Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : I wanted to call it a yawn-fest, but your comment once again proves that there’s always something worth keeping an eye on for us Sharks supporters

  • Comment 11, posted at 14.12.15 10:45:14 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @vanmartin (Comment 9) : Well that’s why I think they SR teams should have to fight for their place, that would force proper rotation and squad depth.

  • Comment 12, posted at 14.12.15 10:45:51 by Seth101 Reply
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  • @Seth101 (Comment 12) : can’t penalise the superrugby teams.the qualifying stage is for the non-sr unions to compete for 3 spots and the sr unions to invest gametime in their juniors.

  • Comment 13, posted at 14.12.15 11:01:14 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 7) : @SheldonK (Comment 5) : there was mention made of sharks players being eligible for pukke varsity side from next this correct?

  • Comment 14, posted at 14.12.15 11:03:23 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • @50shadesofshark (Comment 14) : Surely that would be the most insane decision? They should rather play in the UKZN side and get them into Varsity Cup.

  • Comment 15, posted at 14.12.15 11:31:05 by SheldonK Reply

  • Hi Rob, it is entirely possible that I am not understanding this correctly, but if as you say the points from the “first stage” are not carried over to the second stage, what exactly is the point (for the Sharks) in playing the first stage at all? I can see that it is useful to blood new players, but there must be some motivation to at least win a game, or am I not understanding something?

  • Comment 16, posted at 14.12.15 12:25:33 by andredewaal Reply
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  • @andredewaal (Comment 16) : there is no point, other than, as you say, using it as an opportunity to improve and develop squad depth.

    The Sharks will use Currie Cup first stage as a development competition. Horak, Zondagh and Anthony will coach and the vast majority of the squad will comprise contracted age-group players. Some fringe players from Super Rugby will occasionally be involved, but that is, I understand, on an exception basis.

  • Comment 17, posted at 14.12.15 12:51:21 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 17) : I have a feeling that I may come to prefer watching this ‘developmental’ leg of the Currie Cup as opposed to the Super Rugby competition. Still struggling to muster up the enthusiasm for next year’s format.

  • Comment 18, posted at 14.12.15 13:01:50 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 18) : quite sad I won’t get to see any of it

  • Comment 19, posted at 14.12.15 13:35:59 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 19) : Is Sky not broadcasting Currie Cup?

  • Comment 20, posted at 14.12.15 13:46:22 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 20) : they definitely won’t broadcast the first stage of it. I’ll be surprised if SuperSport broadcast more than a token 1-2 games a week

  • Comment 21, posted at 14.12.15 13:48:10 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 17) : should be just to get them fit or give them some game time.

  • Comment 22, posted at 14.12.15 13:56:43 by JD Reply
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  • @50shadesofshark (Comment 14) : I’m sure there is sort of a gentleman’s agreement with Pukke and Leopards with regards to player development. Just not sure how this will relate to Varsity Cup side.

  • Comment 23, posted at 14.12.15 14:02:31 by JD Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 15) : that would be ideal situation – ukzn playing varsity cup .would be great if both ukzn campuses could play in the varsity cup!or at least one the cup and the other one in the shield.(but i would also like some of those ukzn impi’s to play varsity cup next season).how would that influence the sharks pre-cc rugby squad re: players involved in varsity shield next season?
    ukzn will split their 4 home games for 2016 varsity shield: first 2 in pmb and next 2 in dbn.

  • Comment 24, posted at 14.12.15 14:09:02 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • @JD (Comment 23) : will be nice if ukzn make varsity cup,but until then,having an agreement with the pukke could maybe help in getting junior players to sign with the sharks.if ukzn makes varsity cup for 2017 ,it would be great.

  • Comment 25, posted at 14.12.15 14:15:35 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • @50shadesofshark (Comment 25) : ja will be great if Impi can be promoted but also remember promotion is only the start, being able to stay in the Varsity cup and to be competitive should be the main aim!!! Does not help if they finish last every season!!!!

  • Comment 26, posted at 14.12.15 14:19:44 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 26) : yes true! 😀 would hope ukzn and the sharks could procure a few more quality signings for the team if they do make varsity cup.

  • Comment 27, posted at 14.12.15 14:26:56 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • @50shadesofshark (Comment 24) : UKZN doesnt split their campuses for Varsity Shield/Cup only for the KZN league. I did hear that they were making the Impi’s base in Durban but dont know if thats confirmed. The Sharks should ensure that all players eligible for Varsity Cup must play for UKZN. Cannot see any benefit in helping out a rival Varsity Cup side unless they see no value if having one ourselves in Durban

  • Comment 28, posted at 14.12.15 14:28:17 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 28) : Varsity Shield/Cup is dead, as I understand it. Fees fell, so there’s no money for the Universities to invest.

    I’d be very surprised to see much further investment in UKZN from the Sharks.

  • Comment 29, posted at 14.12.15 14:43:14 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 29) : the whole Varsity Cup competition? Dead? 😯

  • Comment 30, posted at 14.12.15 14:48:54 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 29) : I actually didnt even consider that. Hectic

  • Comment 31, posted at 14.12.15 14:55:02 by SheldonK Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 29) : did not even consider will 2016 still continue?fixtures are up and seems as if everything is going smooth?

  • Comment 32, posted at 14.12.15 14:59:20 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 28) : the official varsity cup site have the shield fixtures.1st and 15th of feb matches at peter booysen stadium.

  • Comment 33, posted at 14.12.15 15:02:02 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 31) : @50shadesofshark (Comment 32) : Ya’ think Rob is talking about UKZN only, or the entire comp?….I’m guessing/assuming he’s talkin about UKZN – surely Varsity Cup won’t die.

  • Comment 34, posted at 14.12.15 15:03:00 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 29) : the varsity cup and shield can still continue.steinhoff and cell c are sponsors.supersport.all the participating tertiary institutions have rugby clubs.

  • Comment 35, posted at 14.12.15 15:07:21 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • all I know is that UKZN apparently doesn’t have money to continue investing heavily in the IMPI program,. Not sure how other varsities are funded.

  • Comment 36, posted at 14.12.15 15:09:05 by robdylan Reply
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  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 34) : shield should lose out re: sponsorhip and tv exposure.and thats where ukzn is.unless they qualify for 2017 varsity cup.

  • Comment 37, posted at 14.12.15 15:09:24 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • @50shadesofshark (Comment 37) : this means 2016 is a big season for ukzn in the varsity shield.

  • Comment 38, posted at 14.12.15 15:11:21 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 36) : @50shadesofshark (Comment 37) : Without a head coach, I can’t see Impi cracking it into the cup by 2017.

    Fees fell, and somebody had to pay for it…guess it’s the extramural activities.

  • Comment 39, posted at 14.12.15 15:20:10 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 36) : Definitely interesting times. Will be tougher to lure young talent to Durbs if thats the case

  • Comment 40, posted at 14.12.15 15:21:44 by SheldonK Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 39) : yes.if varsity cup continues post-2016,then a deal with the pukke makes sense.

  • Comment 41, posted at 14.12.15 15:24:13 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 40) : kzn is the most populous province in sa.there must be some young rugby talent out there?

  • Comment 42, posted at 14.12.15 15:25:51 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • @50shadesofshark (Comment 41) : Is there talks of a deal with Pukke on the cards?…would make a ton of sense to do that.

  • Comment 43, posted at 14.12.15 15:28:12 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @50shadesofshark (Comment 42) : There is plenty…but there are also many many teams wanting to lure them away both in SA and abroad

  • Comment 44, posted at 14.12.15 15:29:52 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 40) : UKZN does not lure young talent to Durban.

  • Comment 45, posted at 14.12.15 15:31:29 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 45) : Not currently no…but a Varsity Cup side would change that. Same way as NMMU gets guys to PE…

  • Comment 46, posted at 14.12.15 15:34:46 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 44) : 5 kzn players there.

  • Comment 47, posted at 14.12.15 15:36:09 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 43) : there was talk of that but have not found any confirmation.

  • Comment 48, posted at 14.12.15 15:42:03 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • @50shadesofshark (Comment 48) : there is no confirmation. It’s another case of Andre Bester “making up” stories based on misunderstanding what he’s hearing from sources at the Leopards.

  • Comment 49, posted at 14.12.15 16:57:14 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 49) : thanks .

  • Comment 50, posted at 14.12.15 17:20:51 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • This sounds more like saru trying to squeeze more money out of something that has a higher viewer rate and viewing rights sales than the series it replaces. More money grubbing and less “what’s good for SA rugby” ?

  • Comment 51, posted at 15.12.15 06:50:20 by coolfusion Reply

  • How dare they scrap the Vodacom Cup? 😆

  • Comment 52, posted at 15.12.15 07:58:28 by Farlington Reply

  • @Farlington (Comment 52) : maybe now Vodacom can cut some call rates as it’s one less thing they will be sponsoring! 😈

  • Comment 53, posted at 15.12.15 10:45:14 by JD Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 46) : No it wouldn’t, sure they would be playing in the top league, but it would still be a horrible, badly run, corrupt university, that has to change if you want people to want to go there.

  • Comment 54, posted at 15.12.15 11:05:00 by Seth101 Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Author
  • @Seth101 (Comment 54) : Rugby players dont give a toss how a varsity is run. For them its all about exposure. If UKZN has a varsity cup side that gives players exposure weekly on tv at that level thats all guys will care about. They arent there for the academics or the ‘varsity life’. Rob DupReez played Varsity Cup for Maties and then signed for WP…if he set 1 foot in a lecture hall id be amazed

  • Comment 55, posted at 15.12.15 11:07:53 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 55) : Having been at school with a lot of guys who went on to play in the Varsity Cup I have to disagree. Yes the rugby exposure is a huge part of it, but location is to, it’s the reason why most guys will choose the Stormers or Bulls 9/10 after school, they want to live in better areas.
    Academics might not be important, but quality of life is, and guys will always go where it’s better.
    I have a family member who worked at UKZN for like 30 years, I know just how horrible a place it can be.

  • Comment 56, posted at 15.12.15 11:14:22 by Seth101 Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 55) : UKZN has a stigma and a reputation that needs to change just as much as the rugby. It’s the kind of place people are embarrassed to go now days, or at least most of the people I speak to.

  • Comment 57, posted at 15.12.15 11:17:41 by Seth101 Reply
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  • @Seth101 (Comment 56) : for location maties and ikeys are tough to beat.

  • Comment 58, posted at 15.12.15 11:18:25 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • @Seth101 (Comment 56) : I did my undergrad and post grad through UKZN so i def know the struggle. Yes a lot of guys move to CPT and PTA as they want to get away from Durban where they have been most of their life. Improving UKZN wont change that. The fact is that if UKZN had a Varsity Cup side it will attract a lot more players than it does now. The Sports Science Institute in CPT and High Performance Centre in PTA is also what attracts guys there…Durban has no such facility. Prime High Performance Centre at Moses Mabhida is slowly getting there but isnt anywhere close yet.

  • Comment 59, posted at 15.12.15 11:27:37 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 59) : wp rugby institute in stb (their answer to the sharks academy).

  • Comment 60, posted at 15.12.15 11:30:37 by 50shadesofshark Reply

  • “the six Super Rugby franchise teams are guaranteed their places (that is, the Sharks, Blue Bulls, Western Province, Golden Lions, EP Kings and Free State Cheetahs)”

    All just a farce to assure the Kings of a Currie Cup spot. 🙄

  • Comment 61, posted at 15.12.15 13:55:54 by Ben Reply
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