Barrett-Theron will become the first female referee to take charge of Currie Cup Division I game. Photo: Liam Hamer-Nel/WP Rugby Referees Society on facebook

JOHANNESBURG – The eight Currie Cup First Division teams will kick off their season this weekend following weeks of preparation, with the matches in George, Robertson, Windhoek and Kempton Park marking the first of seven action-packed pool rounds.

Friday’s opening encounter between the SWD Eagles and Leopards in George will mark an historic day in the Currie Cup First Division as South Africa’s leading female referee, Aimee Barrett-Theron, will become the first woman to officiate a match at this level.

In Saturday’s clashes, the Boland Cavaliers will meet Eastern Province in Robertson, the Welwitschias will host defending champions, theGriffons, in Windhoek and, the Valke take on the Border Bulldogs in Kempton Park.

The Leopards will be hunting their fifth victory in six matches against SWD, although it could be a tight clash following their 42-42 draw in their last encounter in Potchefstroom. The last time SWD defeated the Leopards in George was in 2014, which is expected to fuel their determination to win.

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Eastern Province will be determined to start their season on a high against the Boland Cavaliers after a disappointing season last year in which they failed to win a match. They are, however, expected to face a tough challenge from the 2017 semifinalists, who were victorious in the last three matches between the sides. 

The clash between Border and the Valke could prove to be a tight tussle given the number of closely-fought clashes between the teams in the last few years. The men from Kempton Park, who finished the pool stages last season in second place, registered a narrow 48-41 victory against their East London counterparts in their last outing, meaning they will not take the quality of the opposition for granted.

And in neighbouring Namibia, the Griffons will look to build on their successful 2017 season, in which they suffered only defeat, when they meet the Welwitschias in Windhoek. They will, however, be wary of the hosts, who tested them to the limit last season despite going down 66-59. 

With the Welwitschias now in their third Currie Cup First Division season, they will also be desperate to improve on their performance, which reflects only one win in 12 matches so far.

Currie Cup First Division Round 1 fixtures:

Friday

SWD Eagles v Leopards

Venue: Outeniqua Park, George

Kick-off: 6pm

Referee: Aimee Barrett-Theron

Assistant Referees: Ruhan Meiring and local appointment

Saturday

Boland Cavaliers v Eastern Province

Venue: Van Zyl Sport Grounds, Robertson

Kick-off: 2.30pm

Referee: Graham Cooper

Assistant Referees: Viv-Richard Adams and Curtley Booysen

Windhoek Draught Welwitschias v Down Touch Griffons

Venue: Hage Geingob Stadium, Windhoek

Kick-off: 3pm

Referee: Quinton Immelman

Assistant Referees: Local appointments

Hino Valke v Border Bulldogs

Venue: Barnard Stadium, Kempton Park

Kick-off: 4pm

Referee: Ben Crouse

Assistant Referees: Jaco Pretorius and local appointment 

African News Agency (ANA)


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