It’s been a while since we wrote about club rugby, but with Club Champs happening next month, and this time only open to non Varsity clubs, we thought it worth having a look at who is who in the club zoo …
Up front a big up to SARU for one, putting the spotlight back on club rugby, and two, Duance Heath for putting together the wraps and posting the results on Twitter via @saclubrugby …
Despatch, Brakpan and Bloemfontein Police are the latest teams to qualify for the Club Champs, to be hosted later this year by the Rustenburg Impala Club.
Two-time national club champions Despatch finished second behind NMMU in the Eastern Province Grand Challenge, thereby qualifying on the basis of being the province’s top non-tertiary club. Despatch won 12 of their 13 matches, including an 18-16 win over the Madibaz.
Brakpan are unbeaten against Valke teams in this year’s Predator Super League, and their 52-13 victory over Benoni last weekend moves the East Rand side to fourth on the overall standings behind UJ, Wits and Rustenburg Impala.
And the Bloem Bobbies booked their ticket to Rustenburg following a 33-20 victory over CUT Tjisas in the final round of City League matches last weekend. Their closest challengers, Crusaders, fell out of contention when they lost 58-8 to CUT.
With just 45 days to go until the tournament kicks off on 15 September, 10 of the 15 automatic qualifying slots are now confirmed, with Despatch, Brakpan and Police joining Roodepoort (Golden Lions), Rustenburg Impala (Leopards), Villagers Worcester (Boland), Durbanville-Bellville (WP), Blanco (SWD), Sishen (Griqualand West) and College Rovers (KZN) in the draw.
The Blue Bulls qualifier will be confirmed most likely after the final round of Carlton League matches this coming weekend, with log leaders Pretoria Police the favourites.
The Border Super League reaches its climax on Saturday when leaders Old Selbornians play second-placed East London Police in a winner-takes-all match. Selbornians take a three-point advantage into the final round, thanks to a 16-0 victory over the University of Fort Hare, while the Bobbies beat Breakers 29-8 and claimed a bonus point which may yet prove crucial in the final outcome.
The Griffons Senior League is now complete, with Welkom Rovers winning all 12 of their matches and finishing a massive 20 points ahead of second-placed Welkom Club, but to qualify for the Club Champs they must now also win the playoffs, which take place over the next fortnight.
Noordelikes lead the Limpopo Super League standings ahead of Letaba and Louis Trichardt, while in Mpumalanga, Witbank Ferros will play against the winner of the match between Highveld champions Bethal and Lowveld champions White River, which takes place on Friday.
SARU will announce the name of the invited club that will round out the 16-team draw later this month.