2016 Currie Cup Premier Division

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2016 Currie Cup Premier Division
CountriesSouth Africa
Date5 August – 22 October 2016
ChampionsFree State Cheetahs (5th title)
Runners-upBlue Bulls
RelegatedBoland Cavaliers
Eastern Province Kings
Matches played39
Tries scored321
(average 8.2 per match)
Top point scorerTian Schoeman (146)
Top try scorerFrank Herne,
Huw Jones,
Howard Mnisi,
Kwagga Smith and
Jamba Ulengo (7)
← 2015
2017 →

The 2016 Currie Cup Premier Division was the top tier of the second stage of the 2016 Currie Cup, the 78th edition of this annual South African rugby union competition organised by the South African Rugby Union. It was played between 5 August and 22 October 2016 and featured nine teams that qualified through the 2016 Currie Cup qualification competition.

The competition was won by the Free State Cheetahs for the fifth time in their history; they beat the Blue Bulls 36–16 in the final played on 22 October 2016.

The competition was reduced to seven teams for 2017, resulting in the Boland Cavaliers and Eastern Province Kings being relegated to the 2017 Currie Cup First Division.

Competition rules and information[edit]

There are nine participating teams in the 2016 Currie Cup Premier Division.

Qualification[edit]

The six franchise teams automatically qualified for the 2016 Currie Cup Premier Division, and were joined by the three highest-placed non-franchise teams from the 2016 Currie Cup qualification stage. Points will not be carried over to the Premier Division.

Regular season and title play offs[edit]

The nine teams that qualified for the Premier Division will play against each other over the course of the competition, either at home or away. Teams will receive four points for a win and two points for a draw. Bonus points will be awarded to teams that score four or more tries in a game, as well as to teams that lose a match by seven points or less. Teams will be ranked by log points, then points difference (points scored less points conceded).

The top four teams will qualify for the semi-finals, which will be followed by a final.[1]

Relegation[edit]

In March 2017, the South African Rugby Union decided to reduce the competition to seven teams for 2017 Currie Cup Premier Division. The seven teams with the best record over the past five years were selected to remain in the Premier Division, which resulted in the Boland Cavaliers and Eastern Province Kings being relegated to the 2017 Currie Cup First Division.[2]

Teams[edit]

The teams that qualified for the 2016 Currie Cup Premier Division are:[1]

Team Listing[edit]

2016 Currie Cup Premier Division teams
Team Sponsored Name Stadium/s Sponsored Name
Blue Bulls Vodacom Blue Bulls Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria Loftus Versfeld
Boland Cavaliers Boland Cavaliers Boland Stadium, Wellington Boland Stadium
Eastern Province Kings Eastern Province Kings Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Free State Cheetahs Toyota Free State Cheetahs Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein Free State Stadium
Golden Lions Xerox Golden Lions Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg Emirates Airline Park
Griquas Griquas Griqua Park, Kimberley Griqua Park
Pumas Steval Pumas Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit Mbombela Stadium
Sharks Cell C Sharks Kings Park Stadium, Durban Growthpoint Kings Park
Western Province DHL Western Province Newlands Stadium, Cape Town DHL Newlands

Standings[edit]

The final log for the 2016 Currie Cup Premier Division was:[3][note 1]

2016 Currie Cup Premier Division log watch · edit · discuss
Pos Team P W D L PF PA PD TF TA TB LB Pts
1 Free State Cheetahs 8 8 0 0 366 181 +185 49 18 7 0 39
2 Blue Bulls 8 6 0 2 310 207 +103 40 26 5 1 30
3 Western Province 8 5 0 3 266 250 +16 35 29 6 1 27
4 Golden Lions 8 5 0 3 355 191 +164 49 23 5 1 26
5 Sharks 8 5 0 3 272 173 +99 33 21 4 1 25
6 Griquas 8 4 0 4 265 323 −58 33 43 5 0 21
7 Boland Cavaliers 8 2 0 6 177 301 −124 24 41 3 1 12
8 Pumas 8 1 0 7 178 321 −143 24 43 4 2 10
9 Eastern Province Kings 8 0 0 8 137 379 −242 16 59 1 0 1
Final standings.
  1. ^ According to the match report summary on the South African Rugby Union website, the Sharks scored five tries in their match against Griquas; however, according to the detailed scorecard, they scored six tries.[4] Similarly, the match report summary indicates that the Blue Bulls scored eight tries in their match against Griquas, while the detailed scorecard lists nine tries.[5] These missing tries are also missing from the log on the official website, and have been added into the log below.

Round-by-round[edit]

The table below shows a team's progression throughout the season. For each round, each team's cumulative points total is shown with the overall log position in brackets.

Team Progression – 2016 Currie Cup Premier Division
Team R1 R2 R3 R4 R1 [a] R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 SF F
Free State Cheetahs 5
(1st)
10
(1st)
14
(2nd)
14
(2nd)
14
(2nd)
19
(2nd)
24
(1st)
29
(1st)
34
(1st)
39
(1st)
Won Won
Blue Bulls 5
(3rd)
5
(4th)
10
(3rd)
11
(4th)
11
(5th)
15
(3rd)
20
(3rd)
25
(3rd)
30
(2nd)
30
(2nd)
Won Lost
Western Province 1
(4th)
1
(6th)
2
(7th)
7
(6th)
7
(6th)
12
(6th)
13
(6th)
18
(5th)
23
(4th)
27
(3rd)
Lost N/A
Golden Lions 0
(5th)
5
(3rd)
7
(4th)
12
(3rd)
12
(4th)
12
(5th)
17
(5th)
17
(6th)
22
(5th)
26
(4th)
Lost N/A
Sharks 5
(2nd)
10
(2nd)
15
(1st)
19
(1st)
19
(1st)
20
(1st)
20
(2nd)
25
(2nd)
25
(3rd)
25
(5th)
N/A N/A
Griquas 0
(5th)
0
(9th)
4
(6th)
9
(5th)
14
(3rd)
14
(4th)
19
(4th)
19
(4th)
20
(6th)
21
(6th)
N/A N/A
Boland Cavaliers 0
(9th)
5
(5th)
5
(5th)
5
(7th)
5
(7th)
9
(7th)
9
(7th)
9
(7th)
10
(7th)
12
(7th)
N/A N/A
Pumas 0
(8th)
1
(7th)
1
(9th)
3
(8th)
3
(8th)
5
(8th)
5
(8th)
5
(8th)
5
(8th)
10
(8th)
N/A N/A
Eastern Province Kings 0
(5th)
0
(8th)
1
(8th)
1
(9th)
1
(9th)
1
(9th)
1
(9th)
1
(9th)
1
(9th)
1
(9th)
N/A N/A
Key: win draw loss bye

Matches[edit]

The following matches were played in the 2016 Currie Cup Premier Division:[7][8]

Round One[edit]

The 2016 Currie Cup Premier Division got off to a turbulent start after the Lions reached the 2016 Super Rugby final and requested that the Golden Lions be given a bye in Round One of the competition. In addition, the Eastern Province Kings were liquidated the day before the competition was due to kick off. They were reformed with the help of their local municipal council, but with no coaches or players in place, their Round One match against Griquas was also postponed.[a] On the field, the action got underway in Pretoria, where the Blue Bulls beat 2015 losing finalists Western Province 45–26. They scored six tries, with Tian Schoeman kicking 15 points, while Western Province responded with four tries, all in the final twenty minutes of the match. In the other match played on the Friday evening, the Sharks beat the Pumas 33–10 in Nelspruit, outscoring the hosts by five tries to one. The biggest victory of the weekend came in the Saturday match, with the Free State Cheetahs beating Boland Cavaliers 44–16 in Wellington, also scoring five tries to one to go top of the log. Fred Zeilinga scored nineteen points in that match, the most by any player in Round One.[9]

Bye/s: Eastern Province Kings, Golden Lions, Griquas

Round Two[edit]

The Free State Cheetahs retained their spot at the top of the Currie Cup after outscoring the Blue Bulls by six tries to two in a 43–20 victory in their match in Bloemfontein, while the Sharks kept pace with them by also securing a bonus-point victory in their match against Griquas, scoring six tries in a 46–24 victory in Durban. The Golden Lions started their title defense in style, with lock Lourens Erasmus scoring a try just 8.5 seconds into their match against the Pumas, a new Currie Cup record for the fastest-ever try. The Golden Lions won the match 68–26 to move into third position on the log, scoring ten tries in the process, of which winger Anthony Volmink scored two. In the other match of the weekend, the Boland Cavaliers secured their first win of the season, winning 28–10 in their first match against the Eastern Province Kings in the Currie Cup Premier Division since 1999.[16]

Bye/s: Western Province

Round Three[edit]

The Sharks secured their third consecutive bonus-points victory against the Boland Cavaliers in Wellington, scoring six tries in a 41–20 win to leap-frog the Free State Cheetahs into top spot on the log. Although the Cheetahs also won their third match in the competition – a 32–25 victory over Western Province with fly-half Fred Zeilinga contributing 22 points – their two tries were not enough to secure a bonus point. The Blue Bulls remained in third position on the log after a high-scoring victory over the Eastern Province Kings; two tries from Jamba Ulengo and 19 points from Tian Schoeman's boot helped the side to a 49–35 victory over an EP Kings side who secured their first log point of the season by scoring five tries of their own. In the other match, the Golden Lions lost their first match since the 2014 Currie Cup Final, with Kimberley-based side Griquas beating them 30–24.[24]

Bye/s: Pumas

Round Four[edit]

The Sharks extended their lead at the top of the Currie Cup log to four points after securing a 26–19 victory over the Blue Bulls, with fullback Curwin Bosch getting a "full house" – scoring points through all four methods (try, conversion, penalty and drop goal) – for a personal points tally of 21 points. The Free State Cheetahs remained in second position on the log despite having a bye, while the Golden Lions moved ahead of the Blue Bulls following a 60–12 victory over the Boland Cavaliers in Johannesburg, with Selom Gavor scoring two of the Lions' nine tries and fly-half Marnitz Boshoff kicking 15 points. Griquas maintained their play-off push with a 41–35 victory over the Pumas in Nelspruit, with both teams scoring four tries. Griquas centre Clinton Swart matched Bosch's 21 points in the match, eclipsing Pumas fly-half Francois Brummer's 15 points, while Rudi van Rooyen scored two tries for the visitors. In the other match of the round, Western Province moved up to sixth place after beating bottom side Eastern Province Kings 36–6, with Huw Jones getting a hat-trick of tries for the team from Cape Town.[32]

Bye/s: Free State Cheetahs

Round One (rescheduled)[edit]

A midweek match saw Griquas secure their third consecutive victory in the competition to move into third position on the log, while cementing the Eastern Province Kings' last place. Griquas also picked up a bonus point by virtue of scoring seven tries, with fullback AJ Coertzen getting two.

Round Five[edit]

Despite suffering their first defeat of the season to Western Province, a bonus point in a 27–34 defeat saw the Sharks maintain top spot in the competition. Curwin Bosch was again the Sharks' main points contributor with 18 points through five penalties and converting one of the Sharks' two tries, but Western Province secured the victory after scoring five tries, with outside centre EW Viljoen scoring two in his first start of the season. The Free State Cheetahs made it four wins out of four with a 57–25 win over a Eastern Province Kings team that played their third match in a week, to move to within a single log point of the Sharks, with Nico Lee, Charles Marais and Paul Schoeman each scoring two of the Cheetahs' nine tries. The Blue Bulls moved into the top four with a 31–17 victory over Gauteng rivals the Golden Lions, with the help of 16 points from the boot of Tian Schoeman, pushing Griquas into fourth position and the Lions out of the play-off spots into fifth. In the other match of the round, the Boland Cavaliers secured a narrow 25–22 win over the Pumas in Wellington to secure their second victory of the season, with the Pumas remaining winless.[43]

Bye/s: Griquas

Round Six[edit]

The Free State Cheetahs moved into top spot on the log after beating the Sharks 38–30 in a top-of-the-log clash in Durban. They scored five tries, with Fred Zeilinga successfully converting them all, while 20 points from the boot of Curwin Bosch was not enough for the Sharks, who dropped to second place. The Blue Bulls secured their fourth win of the season to remain in third place, scoring six tries in a 41–14 win over the Pumas in Nelspruit, with winger Jamba Ulengo scoring a brace. Griquas remained in the final semi-final spot after securing a fourth consecutive victory, with 21 points from Clinton Swart and a brace of tries by Elgar Watts helping the team to a 46–22 victory over the Boland Cavaliers. The Golden Lions remained two points behind Griquas after beating Western Province 58–32 in the most high-scoring match of the round. They scored eight tries (with Kwagga Smith scoring two) and Jaco van der Walt kicked 18 points, while Jacques Vermeulen scored two tries for Western Province.[52]

Bye/s: Eastern Province Kings

Round Seven[edit]

The Free State Cheetahs became the first team to secure a semi-final berth after winning their sixth consecutive match, beating the Golden Lions 37–29 in Bloemfontein. The Cheetahs had different try scorers for all five of their tries, while the Golden Lions relied on the boot of Jaco van der Walt, who kicked 16 of his side's points. After two consecutive defeats, the Sharks returned to winning ways, securing the first whitewash of the season after beating bottom side Eastern Province Kings 53–0, scoring nine tries in the match. The Blue Bulls remained level on log points with the Sharks after scoring a half-century of their own, beating Griquas 57–20 in Pretoria. Piet van Zyl scored two if his side's eight tries, while Tian Schoeman kicked 17 points. While Griquas remained in the final semi-final position despite the defeat, fifth-placed Western Province closed the gap by beating the Pumas 31–23 in Cape Town.[61]

Bye/s: Boland Cavaliers

Round Eight[edit]

The Free State Cheetahs made it sevens wins in a row after a 52–10 victory over the Pumas in Nelspruit. Rayno Benjamin scored a hat-trick of tries in the match with Paul Schoeman getting a brace, as the Cheetahs ensured that they would top the log and have home advantage in the semi-final and possible final. A 48–26 victory by the Blue Bulls over the Boland Cavaliers in Wellington meant that they would join the Cheetahs in the play-offs. Hanro Liebenberg scored two of the Blue Bulls' seven tries in their final match of the regular season, while Theuns Kotzé also scored two tries for the home side. The biggest margin of victory came in the match between the Eastern Province Kings and the Golden Lions in Port Elizabeth, with the visitors winning 71–7. Golden Lions captain Kwagga Smith scored a hat-trick, with Howard Mnisi and Jacques Nel each contributing two of the Lions' eleven tries. Western Province also won their match against Griquas in Kimberley, meaning all four fixtures resulted in away wins. Six different try scorers and 22 points kicked by Robert du Preez saw Western Province move into the top four, behind a Sharks team that enjoyed a bye weekend, while Griquas dropped to sixth place despite picking up a bonus point for scoring four tries of their own.[69]

Bye/s: Sharks

Round Nine[edit]

In the first match of the weekend, defending champions the Golden Lions secured a place in the semi-finals after beating the Sharks 28–16 in Johannesburg. The result meant that the Sharks needed the Boland Cavaliers to get an unlikely victory against Western Province a few hours later. Boland ran in four tries to lead 28–20 with 8 minutes to go, but Western Province scored a converted try and a 78th–minute penalty through fly-half Robert du Preez to secure the final semi-final spot in dramatic fashion, winning the match 30–28. The final match on the Friday night saw the Pumas travel to the Eastern Province Kings for a match between the bottom two teams on the log, both without a win to their name prior to this match. The Pumas edged the match 38–30, with hooker Frank Herne scoring a hat-trick of tries in his team's only win of the season. The final group match in the competition was a dead rubber; top side Free State Cheetahs outscored Griquas by 9 tries to 4 to win 63–26; scrum-half Shaun Venter got a brace, while fly-half Niel Marais contributed 17 points through one try and 6 conversions.[78]

Bye/s: Blue Bulls

Semi-Finals[edit]

The Free State Cheetahs maintained their unbeaten record in the season with an emphatic 55–17 victory over the Golden Lions. They scored six tries, with right winger Sergeal Petersen getting a hat-trick, while fly-half Niel Marais added 21 points, successfully kicking three conversions and five penalties in the match. Blue Bulls fly-half Tian Schoeman replicated Marais' kicking record in his side's 36–30 victory over Western Province in the second semi-final, which ended in dramatic fashion as the Blue Bulls scored a try in the 78th minute through replacement scrum-half Ivan van Zyl – in his first appearance of the season – to overturn Western Province's lead. These results meant that the Free State Cheetahs qualified for their first final since 2009, when they also met the Blue Bulls in the final, and their first home final since 2006, when the same two teams drew 28–all after extra time to share the title.[87]

Final[edit]

The Free State Cheetahs beat the Blue Bulls 36–16 to win the Currie Cup for the fifth time in their history and for the first time since 2007. The first half delivered no tries, with Free State Cheetahs fly-half Niel Marais kicking six penalties against Blue Bulls fly-half Tian Schoeman's three penalties for an 18–9 half-time lead. A converted Clayton Blommetjies try and two more penalties extended the Free State Cheetahs' lead to 31–9 by the 67th minute. A Piet van Zyl try in the 74th minute briefly gave the Blue Bulls some hope, but the Free State Cheetahs responded with a try of their own through Sergeal Petersen just two minutes later to put the result beyond any doubt. Niel Marais contributed 21 points for the home side by kicking seven penalties; a new Currie Cup final record, surpassing the six penalties scored by Thierry Lacroix in the 1995 final and by Patrick Lambie in the 2012 final.[92]

Honours[edit]

The honour roll for the 2016 Currie Cup Premier Division was:

2016 Currie Cup Premier Division Honours
Champions: Free State Cheetahs (5th title)
Top Try Scorers: Frank Herne, Pumas
Huw Jones, Western Province
Howard Mnisi, Golden Lions
Kwagga Smith, Golden Lions and
Jamba Ulengo, Blue Bulls (11)
Top Points Scorer: Tian Schoeman, Blue Bulls (146)

Players[edit]

Squads[edit]

The following squads were named for the 2016 Currie Cup Premier Division:

Appearances and points[edit]

For each team, (c) denotes the team captain. For each match, the player's squad number is shown. Starting players are numbered 1 to 15, while the replacements are numbered 16 to 22. If a replacement made an appearance in the match, it is indicated by Substituted in. "App" refers to the number of appearances made by the player, "Try" to the number of tries scored by the player, "Kck" to the number of points scored via kicks (conversions, penalties or drop goals) and "Pts" refer to the total number of points scored by the player.

Points scorers[edit]

The following table contain points scored in the 2016 Currie Cup Premier Division:[103]

Top Ten point scorers
No Player Team T C P DG Pts
1 Tian Schoeman Blue Bulls 2 35 22 0 146
2 Curwin Bosch Sharks 1 19 20 1 106
3 Niel Marais Free State Cheetahs 2 20 14 0 92
4 Fred Zeilinga Free State Cheetahs 0 24 14 0 90
5 Clinton Swart Griquas 1 23 12 0 87
6 Robert du Preez Western Province 0 22 14 0 86
7 Jaco van der Walt Golden Lions 1 21 7 0 68
8 Francois Brummer Pumas 0 8 9 1 46
9 Theuns Kotzé Boland Cavaliers 2 12 2 1 43
10 Marnitz Boshoff Golden Lions 1 12 2 0 35
Frank Herne Pumas 7 0 0 0 35
Huw Jones Western Province 7 0 0 0 35
Howard Mnisi Golden Lions 7 0 0 0 35
Kwagga Smith Golden Lions 7 0 0 0 35
Jamba Ulengo Blue Bulls 7 0 0 0 35

Discipline[edit]

The following table contains all the cards handed out during the tournament:[104]

Red cards or multiple yellow cards
Player Team Red card Temporarily suspended
Tyler Fisher Pumas 1 0
Shaun Adendorff Boland Cavaliers 0 2
Jean-Luc du Preez Sharks 0 2
Clemen Lewis Boland Cavaliers 0 2
Etienne Oosthuizen Eastern Province Kings 0 2
RG Snyman Blue Bulls 0 2
Jaco van der Walt Golden Lions 0 2

Referees[edit]

The following referees officiated matches in the 2016 Currie Cup Premier Division:

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c The Griquas v Eastern Province Kings from Round One was rescheduled between Rounds Four and Five.[6]

References[edit]

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  5. ^ a b "SA Rugby Match Centre – Vodacom Blue Bulls 57-20 Griquas". South African Rugby Union. 16 September 2016. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
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  46. <