SA Rugby reveals much-anticipated Currie Cup dates

The Currie Cup trophy on display before a presentation

One of the world’s oldest domestic rugby competitions, the Currie Cup, has finally been given a kick-off date for its 2023 season. Picture: Charle Lombard/BackpagePix

Published Jan 30, 2023


Johannesburg - One of the world’s oldest domestic rugby competitions, the Currie Cup, has finally been given a kick-off date for its 2023 season, it was revealed by SA Rugby on Monday.

Along with the news that the tournament would start in early March, SA Rugby also revealed that the First Division will kick off on February 11. That tournament will then expand into the much larger Mzansi Challenge from March 24, which will invite teams from Spain, Kenya, Namibia, Israel and Zimbabwe to participate.

The 85th edition of the Currie Cup will see the defending champion Pumas – who famously beat the Griquas in 2022 to claim a first Cup triumph – take on the challenge of the Bulls, Griquas, Cheetahs, Lions, Griffons and Western Province in an expanded eight-team tournament over a double round of matches, starting on March 11.

The Currie Cup final will be contested on June 24. The South African franchises – Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers – participating in the United Rugby Championship will once again have to juggle playing in as many as three tournaments as they wrap up their European commitments until May, including possible European Professional Club Rugby fixtures.

The First Division, meanwhile, will see an interesting development.

The six local sides – Leopards, Valke, Boland Kavaliers, Eastern Province, Border Bulldogs and SWD Eagles will compete for domestic honours. From the end of March onwards, however, they will also compete to reach the final of the Mzansi Challenge.

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The Diables of Spain, Simbas of Kenya, Namibia’s Welwitschias, Tel Aviv Heat of Israel and Zimbabwe’s Goshawks will join them in that competition. One domestic team will be crowned champions of the First Division based on a league structure while playing in the tournament. They could then possibly progress to the KO rounds of the Challenge, whose final will be played on June 17.

Elsewhere, the Women’s Premier Division and First Division’s dates are yet to be confirmed by SA Rugby.

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It will see the defending champions Border Ladies joined by DHL Western Province, EP Queens, Boland Dames, Blue Bulls Women, Cell C Sharks Women, Mastercard Golden Lions Women in the elite tournament. In the lower division the Leopards, Valke, Limpopo, Pumas, Free State, Griffons, Griquas and SWD will pay for honours.

Meanwhile, the SA Rugby Under-21 Cup will start on August 18, the U21 Shield on August 4 and the Under-20 Cup on February 17.

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