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South African Domestic Rugby

smartcooky

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Can any South African posters explain to me exactly where the Vodacom Cup fits into the general scheme of things in South African domestic rugby?

All the information I can find tells me that this is supposed to be a 3rd Tier competition behind Super Rugby and the Currie Cup. However, to me, it seems more second tier, as the Currie Cup teams appear to be very close to being Super teams, especially the Bulls (Blue Bulls), the Stormers (Western Province) and the Sharks (Natal). Certainly, I believe that the playing level of the Vodacom Cup would be more on a par with our ITM Cup than our 3rd Tier, the Heartland Championship.

I have a Rugby fan friend who lives in Argentina and is trying to keep informed about the Pampas XV playing in the Vodacom Cup, but like me, he is struggling to understand exactly what level these guys are playing at.


Any help would be appreciated.
 

Seaton

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I would say that it is considered appropriate to call it the 3rd tier as it lies (in terms of quality players) in between the Currie Cup and the 2nd Divison of the Currie Cup, with teams in the top division, like the Leopards and Pumas fielding the same players they would in the Currie Cup, and the presence of the second division Currie Cup teams
And you probably would have noticed that it is used primarily for game time for the players in the S15 unions that need it, and when there are none youth players are played, which is also why I liked the advertising idea of calling it "The Blueprint of South African rugby"

However as the Currie and Vodacom Cup are played at different times, I also find it strange that it is refered to 3rd tier, but it doesn't matter really

But, yeah the Pampas XV are doing really well, and I am glad that they lie in the Southern Section so that the Sharks XV don't have to play them, and I think it would do a world of good if they played in the actual Currie Cup, possibly even the main division, however this would be unlikely (but, as we all know all too well, money rules sport, and the addition of an entire new market, even if the Pampas play their home games in SA, will be all to alluring for SuperSport)
 

TRF_Ezequiel

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I would like to comment on what you say about the similarities between Currie Cup and Super Rugby teams.

Most franchises are similar but officially, the Sharks are the only franchise who draw from only 1 province.

Blue Bulls
The Bulls-players are officially picked from the CC-Bulls team and the Valke (Falcons) from Kempton Park. However, I cannot think of a single player from the Falcons who appeared for the Super Rugby-franchise.
Lions
The Lions draw from 3 teams who appear in the Currie Cup Premier Division. First of all the main province, Golden Lions, from Johannesburg. The 2 other teams to draw from are the Leopards from Rustenburg and the Pumas from Witbank. However, not a lot of players drawn from these 2 provinces. Michael Bondesio is the most notable one from the Leopards
Stormers
In the Cape Province the most players are drawn from the Western Province team but officially also players of the Boland Kavaliers can be picked. Given the fact the Kavaliers relegated in 2009, it's not a surprise the number of Boland players in the Stormers squad is low.
Cheetahs
When the Cheetahs joined the competition together with the Western Force in 2006, it was their first season alone. They were participating together with the Lions as 1 team, known as the Cats. Since 2006 we have been able to see the Cheetahs as a seperate franchise. This to me, is the most interesting team considering the whole franchise-idea. The Currie Cup side of the Cheetahs is the main supplier but the Griquas from Kimberly have had a bunch of players in the franchise as well. Most notable are Bjorn Basson (Now Bulls), Riaan Viljoen, Sarel Pretorius, Naas Olivier and Earl Rose for instance.

Like I said before, the Sharks franchise is 100% the same as the Sharks provincial team, which is odd since we have the whole South coast which is linked to the Eastern Province Kings who haven't been allowed into the competition
 

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I guess it is sort of odd that Vodacom cup gets referred to as third tier rugbym because you're right, our Super Rugby teams are -basically- our Currie cup teams so both should be considered first class.

I think the perception here in South Africa though is just that Super Rugby is basically like playing an international test (which it sort of is) and Currie cup is second tier to that because you only compete against local teams.

@ Ezequiel.

The Falcons have produced some Super Rugby players I think, in fact Mcleod who's playing for the Sharks now was a Falcons player before the Sharks took him in.
 

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Personally I don't have a problem with it being called a 2nd tier competition even though I wouldn't say it corresponds to NZ NPC rugby. I think that and Currie cup rugby is similar in that it is a competition where all but the test players are involved even thuogh those players might be available towards the end of the competition inn non-RWC years.

Vodacom cup rugby is a 2nd tier in that it runs parrallel to Super rugby which is the 1 tier.

In that light I'd call Super rugby tier 1 and Vodacom cup rugby tier 2 while CC rugby has elements of both but runs at a different time table.

But yeah for the most part Vodacom cup teams are made up of 4 types of players IMO;
- youngsters coming through the youth ranks
- old players (who probably don't have what it takes for premier rugby any more) who are there for a leadership role
- fringe players who might get a call up if injury starts getting out of hand in Super rugby
- premier players coming back from injury to give them game time without the strain of top-top flight rugby

Pampas XV doesn't fit into that but it is a handy place to give those guys some exposure which they probably wouldn't have gotten in Argentina with the eye on including Argentina in a new format TriNations and possibly looking to include Arg team/s in Super rugby.
 

TRF_stormer2010

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I would like to comment on what you say about the similarities between Currie Cup and Super Rugby teams.

Most franchises are similar but officially, the Sharks are the only franchise who draw from only 1 province.

Blue Bulls
The Bulls-players are officially picked from the CC-Bulls team and the Valke (Falcons) from Kempton Park. However, I cannot think of a single player from the Falcons who appeared for the Super Rugby-franchise.
Lions
The Lions draw from 3 teams who appear in the Currie Cup Premier Division. First of all the main province, Golden Lions, from Johannesburg. The 2 other teams to draw from are the Leopards from Rustenburg and the Pumas from Witbank. However, not a lot of players drawn from these 2 provinces. Michael Bondesio is the most notable one from the Leopards
Stormers
In the Cape Province the most players are drawn from the Western Province team but officially also players of the Boland Kavaliers can be picked. Given the fact the Kavaliers relegated in 2009, it's not a surprise the number of Boland players in the Stormers squad is low.
Cheetahs
When the Cheetahs joined the competition together with the Western Force in 2006, it was their first season alone. They were participating together with the Lions as 1 team, known as the Cats. Since 2006 we have been able to see the Cheetahs as a seperate franchise. This to me, is the most interesting team considering the whole franchise-idea. The Currie Cup side of the Cheetahs is the main supplier but the Griquas from Kimberly have had a bunch of players in the franchise as well. Most notable are Bjorn Basson (Now Bulls), Riaan Viljoen, Sarel Pretorius, Naas Olivier and Earl Rose for instance.

Like I said before, the Sharks franchise is 100% the same as the Sharks provincial team, which is odd since we have the whole South coast which is linked to the Eastern Province Kings who haven't been allowed into the competition

Yeah, the Sharks are the only team which doesn't have any 'feeder' provinces. Though most teams prefer to play with only their own players for continuity with the exception being the Cheetahs with a couple of Griquas players. One has to remember that the Cheetahs franchise, although the biggest by ar ITO area is the last when it comes to population size.

The other provinces are Eastern Cape, Border and South Western districts who now form the unrepresented Southern Kings (based from Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape which is a bigger city than Bloemfontein and these 3 provinces together have the largest population of the Super rugby franchises even though they are unrepresented) where they were formerly 'feeder' provinces.

When looking at the Currie cup, apart from the big 5 who are the 'main' provinces when it comes to Super rugby the other 3 teams are Griquas who are a good team but struggle to keep players and the Leopards and Pumas (both feeder teams to the Lions) who are dangerous out wide but lack the quality to really compete. I think the Lions and Southern Kings have the most potential of all our franchises but struggle because the others are so settled and have a better brand.
 
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TRF_Ezequiel

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@ Boggle: I was talking about players in Super Rugby while being contracted to the Falcons, not players that make it to other teams and play Super Rugby ;)
 

smartcooky

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Excellent guys, and thank you all for the information.

It gives me a better idea of how this competition fits in to you domestic scene

:good:
 

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The Currie Cup also has a "first division" where these Vodacom Cup teams play while the Super Rugby teams mostly play in the Premier Division. So basically the Vodacom Cup is for the first division teams to play against eachother while the Premier teams play in the Super 15.

...I think? Correct me if I'm wrong.
 

TRF_Ezequiel

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Maybe but as far as I know, it's completely seperate from the Currie Cup. The way I see it, is that the Vodacom Cup is a tournament in which mainly young players get a chance to play.

There are 2 sections.

The Northern Section consists of 2 teams which play Super Rugby (Lions and Bulls), 3 teams who play in the CC Premier Division (Griquas, Pumas, Leopards) and 2 teams from the First Division (Falcons and Griffons). The Welwitschias are a team from Namibia to complete the Section of 8 teams.

The Southern Section consists of 3 teams who play Super Rugby (Sharks, Western Province* and Cheetahs), 4 teams who play in the CC First Division (EP Kings, Eagles, Cavaliers, Bulldogs) and the Pampas which is a team from Argentina to complete the section of 8 teams.

The teams who participate in the Super 15, mainly play with youngsters. The other teams use the strongest team possible. Only Griquas lose a couple of players to a Super Rugby franchise apart from the big 5 clubs.



* Western Province is part of the Stormers-franchise
 

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So now i'm a bit confused. There are five Super Rugby Franchises that in theory pick their team from the 14 (or so) Currie Cup teams? Each team has two or three Currie Cup teams to pick from except for the Sharks, who are a stand alone province and Franchise. More or less when South Africa created their franchises they really picked the five strongest Currie Cup teams. So to keep those strong domestic South African ties they created and mirrored the Currie Cup teams ? Like the Bulls franchise are based, and mirrored,on the Currie cup team the Blue Bulls??

So all the best players play at primer level in the Currie Cup, which in reality means they'll be playing super rugby level. Thus leaving the Division one plays with no team or competition during the super rugby season. Which explains the Vodaphone cup?? A breeding ground for young players and fringe players??
Please say this is how it works?
 
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TRF_stormer2010

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So now i'm a bit confused. There are five Super Rugby Franchises that in theory pick their team from the 14 (or so) Currie Cup teams? Each team has two or three Currie Cup teams to pick from except for the Sharks, who are a stand alone province and Franchise. More or less when South Africa created their franchises they really picked the five strongest Currie Cup teams. So to keep those strong domestic South African ties they created and mirrored the Currie Cup teams ? Like the Bulls franchise are based, and mirrored,on the Currie cup team the Blue Bulls??

So all the best players play at primer level in the Currie Cup, which in reality means they'll be playing super rugby level. Thus leaving the Division one plays with no team or competition during the super rugby season. Which explains the Vodaphone cup?? A breeding ground for young players and fringe players??
Please say this is how it works?

Pretty much, yeah;

The Super 15 and Vodacom cup run parrallel where the top players play S15 rugby (you aer 100% correct in the top 5 Currie cup franchises effectively mirroring their brand for Super rugby. Stormers were the slight exception but even they are changing the brand more and more to fit with WP rugby; the kit went from black to dark blue to dark blue with white stripes which mirrors WP). Of course the better players play in Super rugby so that leaves the Vodacom cup with young players, fringe players and the few oldies that don't go play North or retire.

After that the Currie cup and Currie cup 1st division run which is the 14 SA rugby districts, based on the SA political provinces. Springboks are on test duty and only play limited Currie cup games towards the end.
 

TRF_Ezequiel

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In a World Cup year even at the end the Springboks don't play in the Currie Cup. This year they might not even play a single Currie Cup match. The CC starts in July, right after the Super 15 season ends. Preparations for the Tri-Nations start already and afterwards they travel to New Zealand for the World Cup
 

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An ideal moment to check out the smaller teams who don't have any Springboks, should be an interesting competition this year.
 

TRF_Ezequiel

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I mentioned it earlier this year. 2011 can be the year for Griquas to win the Currie Cup!!!
 

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In a World Cup year even at the end the Springboks don't play in the Currie Cup. This year they might not even play a single Currie Cup match. The CC starts in July, right after the Super 15 season ends. Preparations for the Tri-Nations start already and afterwards they travel to New Zealand for the World Cup

Mind Os du Randt played in the 2007 CC final, a week after the RWC final

However it could actually be another player, but I'm 99% sure that one of the Cheetahs (there were only 2 I think) that played in WC final played in the CC final, and correct me if I am wrong but the loose trio for the Wales game straight after the WC was 6. Burger 7. Smith 8. Kankowski?, thus leaving Os as the only other option

I hope the Pumas and Leopards perform this year, but they have lost one or two of their better players, and haven't really replaced them.
However the Pumas are doing relatively well in the Vodacom Cup, but were comprehensively smashed by a very classy Pampas team on last Friday.
The Pampas handling in that game made the Stormers vs. Sharks match look like a bottom of the league clash in a league for the mentally and physically disabled
 

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Do the local South African rugby fan not get annoyed at the fact that there is little to no Springboks in their Currie Cup teams?? I know that Kiwis get up in arms if they don't get a few All Blacks in the ITM.
In New Zealand most Kiwis consider Super Rugby only a secondary competition compared to the NPC. Is it the same in South Africa?? If it is, does the new format for Super Rugby undermine the Currie Cup, especially when considering that there is no Springboks play in it??
 
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TRF_Ezequiel

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I don't think so because the Currie Cup has decades of history, unlike the ITM Cup. I don't need to see Matfield, du Preez and Habana for instance. I enjoy seeing some new explosive talent like Jean Deysel, Bjorn Basson, Lwazi Mvovo, Patrick Lambie, Sarel Pretorius and Michael Bondesio. It's nice to see what is underneath that mythical Bok-squad talent-wise.
 

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