Paul Munyuki Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE will host at least two matches in the inaugural edition of South Africa’s premier club rugby tournament, the Gold Cup, later this year.
With the competition draw having been conducted yesterday, Zimbabwe rugby clubs now know what to expect if they are to take part in the first edition of the Gold Cup — a tournament that replaces the Cell C Community Cup.
Gold Cup project manager Duane Heath yesterday told The Herald that the Zimbabwe Rugby Union requested to host the two matches later in the season but they are yet to know which teams will travel to this country.
“We will be busy with the fixtures in the coming weeks and will release them on March 10 — precisely six months before the first match gets underway,” said Heath.
“At this stage I don’t know which teams will be coming to Zimbabwe.
“The pool stages are from September 10 to October 8 and I know the ZRU has asked that their club’s two home games are held as late as possible during that window. So, there is a chance that Zimbabwe’s two games will be between Saturday September 24 and Saturday October 8, possibly October 1 and 8, but that is just speculation at present.”
Zimbabwe’s representatives are yet to be known because the winner of the local competition will only be decided in June. The Zimbabweans are drawn in Pool C of the Gold Cup — where local rugby will mark a return to the neighbours’ structures.
“We will have to come up with a way of getting a national champion even if it means that teams will be playing in their respective regions because SARU (South Africa Rugby Union) have indicated to us that this is an on-going event, it’s not just for next year,” Zimbabwe Rugby Union director Brighton Chivandire said.
2016 Gold Cup Pools:
Pool A: Durbanville-Bellville (defending champion, Western Province), Villagers Worcester (2015 Boland champion), Old Selbornians (2015 Border champion), Welkom Rovers (2015 Griffons champion).
Pool B: Rustenburg Impala (top Leopards non-university club in 2015), Pirates (top Golden Lions non-university club in 2015), Evergreens (2015 SWD champion), Northam Rhinos (2015 Limpopo Blue Bulls champion), Windhoek Wanderers (top Namibian non-university club in 2015)
Pool C: False Bay (top WP non-university club in 2015), Durban Collegians (2015 KZN champion), White River (2015 Mpumalanga champion). Valke (team to be confirmed), Zimbabwe (team to be decided on 11 June).
Pool D: Port Elizabeth Police (nominated by Eastern Province), Pretoria Police (top Blue Bulls non-university club in 2015), Bloemfontein Police (top Free State non-university club in 2015), Sishen (2015 Griquas champion).