Currie Cup

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Currie Cup
Current season or competition:
2021 Currie Cup Premier Division
Currie Cup logo.svg
SportRugby union
Inaugural season1892
Number of teamsPremier Division: 7
First Division: 7
CountrySouth Africa
HoldersBlue Bulls (2021)
Most titlesWestern Province (34) Four shared (4)
Broadcast partnerSuperSport
Setanta Sports Asia
Nine Network
Related competitionRugby Challenge

The Currie Cup tournament is South Africa's premier domestic rugby union competition, played each winter and spring (June to October), featuring teams representing either entire provinces or substantial regions within provinces. Although it is the premier domestic competition, South African teams also compete in the international Pro14 competitions.

Steeped in history and tradition, the Currie Cup dates back to 1891. The tournament is regarded as the cornerstone of South Africa's rugby heritage, and the coveted gold trophy remains the most prestigious prize in South African domestic rugby.[citation needed]


The Currie Cup is one of the oldest rugby competitions,[1] with the first games played in 1889 but it was only in 1892 that it became officially known as the Currie Cup. The competition had its humble beginnings as an inter-province competition in 1884, but when the South African Rugby Board was founded in 1889 it decided to organize a national competition that would involve representative teams from all the major unions. The original participating unions were Western Province, Griqualand West, Transvaal and Eastern Province. The first tournament was held in Kimberley and was won by Western Province. For a prize they received a silver cup donated by the South African Rugby Board, now displayed at the SA Rugby Museum in Cape Town. The story of how the Currie Cup came to be comes from the first overseas rugby team to tour South Africa in 1891, The British Isles, who carried with them a particularly precious bit of cargo. Among the bags, boots and balls was a golden cup given to them by Sir Donald Currie, owner of Union-Castle Lines, the shipping company that transported them to the southern tip of Africa. Sir Donald was clear with his instructions – hand this trophy over to the team in South Africa that gives the best game; and after a spirited display where the unbeaten British Lions narrowly won 3–0, Griqualand West became the first ever holders of the Currie Cup. They then handed the trophy over to the South African rugby board and it became the floating trophy for the Currie Cup competition. The inaugural Currie Cup tournament was thus held in 1892 with Western Province earning the honour of holding it aloft as the first official winners.

The competition missed a few years here and there for reasons such as war and the like, but in 1968 it became a fully fledged annual showpiece. Western Province dominated the competition's early years, and by 1920 the team from Cape Town had already secured the trophy 10 times. Only Griqualand West could halt the rampant WP side and win the trophy in 1899 and 1911. In 1922 the Transvaal won the competition for the first time, however Western Province would continue to dominate the Currie Cup throughout the 1920s and 1930s, winning the trophy a further 4 times and sharing it twice with Border. In 1939 the trophy returned to Johannesburg for only the second time after Transvaal defeated Western Province in Cape Town. This was the first time WP had lost a final at their home ground Newlands. The Currie Cup went into hiatus during the Second World War but resumed in 1946 when Northern Transvaal claimed their first ever trophy by beating Western Province 11–9 in the final at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria. The late 1940s and early 1950s were dominated by Transvaal who would win the trophy in 1950 and 1952, however in 1954 the Currie Cup would finally return south following Western Province's narrow 11–8 victory over Northern Transvaal in the final at Newlands in Cape Town.

At the end of the apartheid 1980s, South African rugby supporters were treated to two of the most memorable Currie Cup finals. In 1989 winger Carel du Plessis scored a last-minute try as WP managed to draw with Northern Transvaal 16-all, Riaan Gouws missed the conversion which would have given WP its 6th title of the decade a feat which has never been achieved. The following year the Blue Bulls slipped up, though, and Natal sneaked home 18–12, inspired by fly-half Joel Stransky. The 1990s saw further improvement by Natal and the rise of Francois Pienaar's Transvaal. Since the end of apartheid in 1990-4, and the age of professionalism in rugby union in the early 1990s, the Currie Cup has become much more competitive with no team able to carve out an era of dominance like that of WP in the early years or Northern Transvaal in the 1970s and 1980s. All five of the so-called 'big unions' have won the Currie Cup on at least one occasion in the last 20 years; the Golden Lions (formerly Transvaal) have won the trophy 3 times in 1999, 2011 and 2015; Western Province have won the trophy on six occasions in 1997, 2000, 2001, 2012, 2014, and 2017;[2] the Blue Bulls (formerly Northern Transvaal) have won the trophy 6 times in 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2020/21; the Free State Cheetahs have won the trophy 3 times in 2005, 2007 and 2016 and the Sharks have won the trophy 4 times in 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2018. In 2006 the trophy was shared by the Free State Cheetahs and Blue Bulls following their 28-28 all draw in a tense final in Bloemfontein. Whilst these days the competition lags behind Super Rugby and The Rugby Championship (previously the Tri-Nations) in the order of importance, the Currie Cup still holds a special place amongst South African rugby supporters and players, with the trophy very much still the holy grail of the South African domestic rugby scene.[citation needed]

The Currie Cup trophy


Map of South Africa displaying the borders of the 14 teams in the Currie Cup

From 1996 to 2015, the following 14 provincial unions participated in the Currie Cup:

Currie Cup teams
Team Home base Region
Blue Bulls Pretoria The Pretoria metropolitan area and the entire Limpopo province
Boland Cavaliers Wellington Northern and central districts of the Western Cape province
Border Bulldogs East London Eastern districts of the Eastern Cape province
Eastern Province Elephants Port Elizabeth Western districts of the Eastern Cape province
Falcons Kempton Park The East Rand and other municipalities to the east and south of Johannesburg in Gauteng province
Free State Cheetahs Bloemfontein Central and western districts of the Free State province
Golden Lions Johannesburg Johannesburg and the West Rand
Griffons Welkom Northern and eastern districts of the Free State province
Griquas Kimberley The entire Northern Cape province
Leopards Potchefstroom The entire North West province
Pumas Mbombela The entire Mpumalanga province
Sharks Durban The entire KwaZulu-Natal province
SWD Eagles George Eastern districts of the Western Cape province
Western Province Cape Town Cape Town metropolitan area

In 2016 and 2017, the Currie Cup added Welwitschias, a team from Namibia, and in 2019, the Jaguares XV from Argentina.[3][4] From the 2020 the tournament adds a Georgian team.[5]

Champions and Finals[edit]

Between 1892 and 1920, the competition was held as a centralised tournament, with the team with the best record crowned as the winner. Between 1922 and 1936 (as well as in three tournaments between 1957 and 1966), the winner was the team with the best record following a round-robin competition. In all the other seasons, a final was played to determine the champion.

Currie Cup[edit]

Currie Cup Champions and Finals Results
Season Champions Runner-Up Score Final Venue
1892 Western Province N/A N/A N/A
1894 Western Province N/A N/A N/A
1895 Western Province N/A N/A N/A
1897 Western Province N/A N/A N/A
1898 Western Province N/A N/A N/A
18991 Griqualand West N/A N/A N/A
1904 Western Province N/A N/A N/A
1906 Western Province N/A N/A N/A
1908 Western Province N/A N/A N/A
1911 Griqualand West N/A N/A N/A
1914 Western Province N/A N/A N/A
1920 Western Province N/A N/A N/A
1922 Transvaal N/A N/A N/A
1925 Western Province N/A N/A N/A
1927 Western Province N/A N/A N/A
1929 Western Province N/A N/A N/A
1932 Border & Western Province (shared) N/A N/A N/A
1934 Border & Western Province (shared) N/A N/A N/A
1936 Western Province N/A N/A N/A
1939 Transvaal Western Province 17–6 Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
1946 Northern Transvaal Western Province 11–9 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
1947 Western Province Transvaal 16–12 Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
1950 Transvaal Western Province 22–11 Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
1952 Transvaal Boland 11–9 Wellington
1954 Western Province Northern Transvaal 11–8 Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
1956 Northern Transvaal Natal 9–8 Kings Park Stadium, Durban
1957–19592 Western Province N/A N/A N/A
1964 Western Province N/A N/A N/A
1966 Western Province N/A N/A N/A
1968 Northern Transvaal Transvaal 16–3 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
1969 Northern Transvaal Western Province 28–13 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
1970 Griqualand West Northern Transvaal 11–9 De Beers, Kimberley
1971 Northern Transvaal & Transvaal (shared) N/A 14–14 Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
1972 Transvaal Eastern Transvaal 25–19 Pam Brink Stadium, Springs
1973 Northern Transvaal Free State 30–22 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
1974 Northern Transvaal Transvaal 17–15 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
1975 Northern Transvaal Free State 12–6 Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
1976 Free State Western Province 33–16 Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
1977 Northern Transvaal Free State 27–12 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
1978 Northern Transvaal Free State 13–9 Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
1979 Northern Transvaal & Western Province (shared) N/A 15–15 Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
1980 Northern Transvaal Western Province 39–9 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
1981 Northern Transvaal Free State 23–6 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
1982 Western Province Northern Transvaal 24–7 Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
1983 Western Province Northern Transvaal 9–3 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
1984 Western Province Natal 19–9 Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
1985 Western Province Northern Transvaal 22–15 Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
1986 Western Province Transvaal 22–9 Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
1987 Northern Transvaal Transvaal 24–18 Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
1988 Northern Transvaal Western Province 19–18 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
1989 Northern Transvaal & Western Province (shared) N/A 16–16 Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
1990 Natal Northern Transvaal 18–12 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
1991 Northern Transvaal Transvaal 27–15 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
1992 Natal Transvaal 14–13 Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
1993 Transvaal Natal 21–15 Kings Park Stadium, Durban
1994 Transvaal Free State 56–33 Springbok Park, Bloemfontein
1995 Natal Western Province 25–17 Kings Park Stadium, Durban
1996 Sharks6 Golden Lions3 33–15 Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
1997 Western Province Free State Cheetahs4 14–12 Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
1998 Blue Bulls5 Western Province 24–20 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
1999 Golden Lions Sharks 32–9 Kings Park Stadium, Durban
2000 Western Province Sharks 25–15 Kings Park Stadium, Durban
2001 Western Province Sharks 29–24 Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
2002 Blue Bulls Golden Lions 31–7 Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
2003 Blue Bulls Sharks 40–19 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
2004 Blue Bulls Free State Cheetahs 42–33 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
2005 Free State Cheetahs Blue Bulls 29–25 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
2006 Blue Bulls & Free State Cheetahs (shared) N/A 28–28 Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
2007 Free State Cheetahs Golden Lions 20–18 Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
2008 Sharks Blue Bulls 14–9 Kings Park Stadium, Durban
2009 Blue Bulls Free State Cheetahs 36–24 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
2010 Sharks Western Province 30–10 Kings Park Stadium, Durban
2011 Golden Lions Sharks 42–16 Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
2012 Western Province Sharks 25–18 Kings Park Stadium, Durban
2013 Sharks Western Province 33–19 Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
2014 Western Province Golden Lions 19–16 Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
2015 Golden Lions Western Province 32–24 Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
2016 Free State Cheetahs Blue Bulls 36–16 Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
2017 Western Province Sharks 33–21 Kings Park Stadium, Durban
2018 Sharks Western Province 17–12 Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
2019 Free State Cheetahs Golden Lions 31–28[6] Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
2020–217 Blue Bulls Sharks 26–198 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
2021 Blue Bulls Sharks 44–10 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

In addition to the winners above, Western Province also won the South African Rugby Board Trophy in 1889. This tournament was effectively the precursor to the Currie Cup, which started in 1892.

1 Western Province and Transvaal did not compete.
2 Contested over two seasons.
3 Transvaal were renamed the Gauteng Lions; now known as Golden Lions.
4 Orange Free State were renamed the Free State Cheetahs.
5 Northern Transvaal were renamed the Blue Bulls.
6 Natal were renamed the Sharks.
7 Contested between November and January due to COVID-19 pandemic.
8 Final went to extra-time.

Currie Cup First Division[edit]

Currie Cup First Division Champions and Finals Results
Season Champions Runner-Up Score Final Venue
2000 Blue Bulls Mighty Elephants 41–20 Telkom Park, Port Elizabeth
2001 Boland Cavaliers Leopards 41–27 Boland Stadium, Wellington
2002 SWD Eagles Border Bulldogs 29–20 Outeniqua Park, George
2003 Boland Cavaliers Leopards 27–25 Olën Park, Potchefstroom
2004 Boland Cavaliers Border Bulldogs 23–22 Boland Stadium, Wellington
2005 Pumas Falcons 25–16 Barnard Stadium, Kempton Park
2006 Boland Cavaliers Leopards 37–13 Olën Park, Potchefstroom
2007 SWD Eagles Mighty Elephants 38–3 Outeniqua Park, George
2008 Griffons Leopards 31–26 Olën Park, Potchefstroom
2009 Pumas SWD Eagles 47–19 Puma Stadium, Witbank
2010 Eastern Province Kings SWD Eagles 16–12 Outeniqua Park, George
2011 Boland Cavaliers Eastern Province Kings 43–12 Boland Stadium, Wellington
2012 Eastern Province Kings Pumas 26–25 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
2013 Pumas Eastern Province Kings 53–30 Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
2014 Griffons Falcons 23–21 North West Stadium, Welkom
2015 Leopards SWD Eagles 44–20 Olën Park, Potchefstroom
2016 Griffons Leopards 44–25 Olën Park, Potchefstroom
2017 Griffons Leopards 60–36 North West Stadium, Welkom
2018 SWD Eagles Falcons 36–27 Outeniqua Park, George
2019 Jaguares XV Griffons 49–5 Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
20201 N/A N/A N/A N/A
2021 Leopards Griffons 19–18 Olën Park, Potchefstroom

1 The 2020 Currie Cup First Division was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overall winners[edit]

Currie Cup Premier Division[edit]

Overall winners in the Currie Cup Premier Division
Team Number of wins Notes Most recent
Western Province 34 Four shared 2017
Northern Transvaal/Blue Bulls 25 Four shared 2021
Transvaal/Gauteng Lions/Golden Lions 11 One shared 2015
Natal/Sharks 8 2018
Orange Free State/Free State Cheetahs 6 One shared 2019
Griqualand West/Griquas 3 1970
Border/Border Bulldogs 2 Two shared 1934

Since the competition became established as an annual competition in 1968 (see History above).

Team Number of wins Number shared Number runners-up Years won Years shared Year runner-up
Northern Transvaal/Blue Bulls 19 4 8 1968, 1969, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1987, 1988, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2020–21, 2021 1971, 1979, 1989, 2006 1970, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1990, 2005, 2008, 2016
Western Province 11 2 10 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2012, 2014, 2017 1979, 1989 1969, 1976, 1980, 1988, 1995, 1998, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2018
Natal/Sharks 8 0 11 1990, 1992, 1995, 1996, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2018 1984, 1993, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2011, 2012, 2017, 2020–21, 2021
Transvaal/Gauteng Lions/Golden Lions 6 1 11 1972, 1993, 1994, 1999, 2011, 2015 1971 1968, 1974, 1986, 1987, 1991, 1992, 1996, 2002, 2007, 2014, 2019
Orange Free State/Free State Cheetahs 5 1 9 1976, 2005, 2007, 2016, 2019 2006 1973, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1994, 1997, 2004, 2009
Griqualand West/Griquas 1 0 0 1970
Eastern Transvaal/Falcons 0 0 1 1972

Currie Cup First Division[edit]

Overall winners in the Currie Cup First Division
Team Number of wins Runners-up Years won Year Runner-up
Boland Cavaliers 5 0 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2011
Griffons 4 2 2008, 2014, 2016, 2017 2019, 2021
SWD Eagles 3 3 2002, 2007, 2018 2009, 2010, 2015
Pumas 3 1 2005, 2009, 2013 2012
Leopards 2 6 2015, 2021 2001, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2016, 2017
Eastern Province Kings 2 4 2010, 2012 2000, 2007, 2011, 2013
Blue Bulls 1 0 2000
Jaguares XV 1 0 2019
Falcons 0 3 2005, 2014, 2018
Border 0 2 2002, 2004

Records and statistics[edit]

  • Most career matches
Name Team/s Seasons Games
Jacques Botes Pumas/Sharks 2002–2014
Helgard Müller Free State Cheetahs 1983–1998
Rudi Visagie Free State/Natal/Mpumalanga 1980–1996
Chris Badenhorst Free State Cheetahs 1987–1999
Burger Geldenhuys Blue Bulls 1977–1989
André Joubert Free State/Natal 1986–1999

Broadcasting rights[edit]

  • SuperSport broadcasts live Currie Cup matches in South Africa.
  • Setanta Sports Asia broadcasts live Currie Cup matches in Asia.
  • Sky Sports broadcasts live Currie Cup matches in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
  • WatchESPN airs live Currie Cup matches in the Americas via online streaming.
  • Beginning in 2021, the Nine Network will air Currie Cup matches live in Australia through streaming service Stan. Previously matches were aired on Fox Sports.[7]
  • RugbyPass airs live Currie Cup matches via online streaming in certain countries in Asia (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, East Timor, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam), European Economic Area (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Noway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden), and Eastern Europe (Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, & Herzegovina, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine).[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ABSA Currie Cup Records" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2009.
  2. ^ "WP rock Sharks to win Currie Cup title".
  3. ^ "Namibia to compete in enlarged Currie Cup". The Namibian. 6 August 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2015.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Rugbybase wil Curriebeker-reeks nou tot 15 spanne beperk". Netwerk24 (in Afrikaans). 18 August 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  5. ^ "Georgian Rugby to enter team in Currie Cup".
  6. ^ "Cheetahs beat Lions to bag sixth Currie Cup title". Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  7. ^ "Nine agrees to 'landmark deal' with Rugby Australia". Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  8. ^

External links[edit]