Cape Town — SA Rugby has announced the confirmed competition structure for the remainder of the 2022 rugby season, which will see an expansion of the Currie Cup First Division as well as the Women’s Premier Divisions and more provincial age-group rugby.
The South African franchise teams – the Bulls, Sharks, Stormers and Lions – are currently playing in the United Rugby Championship which culminates in the final on 18 June. The Currie Cup Premier Division final will take place one week later on 25 June.
In the First Division, seven local provincial teams will be joined by Georgia, Kenya and Zimbabwe in a brand-new competition.
The trio of international participants will join the defending champions, the Leopards, Griffons, South Western Districts, Boland, Eastern Province, Border and the Valke over a single round of action, with the final scheduled for the final weekend of June.
Last December, the General Council of the South African Rugby Union approved a motion that the top South African team in the First Division be automatically promoted to the Premier Division at the end of the 2022 Currie Cup season, creating an eight-team Premier Division.
Plans on a competition for the First Division sides in the last quarter of the year are also underway and will be confirmed in due course.
On the women’s front, the Golden Lions Women will join the six teams from the 2021 Women’s Premier Division – defending champions, the Border Ladies, as well as Western Province, EP Queens, Boland Dames, Blue Bulls Women and Sharks Women – in a new-look competition played over a single round from 23 April, with the final scheduled for 30 July.
The Women's First Division, featuring eight teams – Leopards, Valke, Limpopo, Pumas, Free State, Griffons, Griquas and SWD – commences on 11 June, with the structure of the competition to be confirmed in due course.
First up though will be the provincial Under-20 sides. The SA Rugby U20 Cup competition will be contested over a single round by the Vodacom Bulls, Toyota Cheetahs, Eastern Province, Leopards, Lions, Cell C Sharks and DHL Western Province, with the first round of fixtures on 25/26 February and the final on 16 April.
Six teams will contest the U20 Shield, from 9 April. The teams will be split in two groups, North (Limpopo, Pumas and Valke) and South (Boland, Border and SWD), with the group winners squaring off in the final on 28 May.
The newly introduced U21 Cup and Shield competitions start simultaneously on 20 August and after a single round fixtures, the two top sides will battle it out for the title on 15 October.
The U21 Cup will see the Bulls, Free State, Eastern Province, Leopards, Lions, Sharks and Western Province battle it out, while the U21 Shield will be contested by Boland, Border, Griffons, Griquas, Limpopo, Pumas and Valke.
All fixtures will be confirmed in due course on the SA Rugby website.
2022 SA Rugby Competition structure
Currie Cup Premier Division
Participating teams: Bulls (defending champions), Sharks, Griquas, Western Province, Pumas, Cheetahs, Sigma Lions
Opening round: 14/15 January (double round of matches)
Final: 25 June
Currie Cup First Division
Participating teams: Leopards (defending champions), Griffons, Valke, Boland Kavaliers, Eastern Province, Border Bulldogs, SWD Eagles, Georgia, Kenya, Zimbabwe
Opening round: 1/2 April (single round of matches)
Final: 24/25 June
Women’s Premier Division
Participating teams: Border Ladies (defending champions), Western Province, EP Queens, Boland Dames, Blue Bulls Women, Sharks Women, Golden Lions Women
Opening round: 22/23 April (single round of matches)
Final: 30 July
Women’s First Division
Participating teams: Leopards, Valke, Limpopo, Pumas, Free State, Griffons, Griquas, SWD
Opening round: 10/11 June (competition structure to be confirmed)
Final: 16 July
SA Rugby Under-20 Cup
Participating teams: Lions (defending champions), Western Province, Vodacom Bulls, Sharks, Leopards, Free State, Eastern Province
Opening round: 25/26 February (single round of matches)