SARU Gold Cup
|Current season, competition or edition:
2016 SARU Gold Cup
|No. of teams||20|
The competition was launched as the SARU Community Cup in 2013 to replace the existing SARU National Club Championships and renamed to the SARU Gold Cup for 2016, when teams from Namibia and Zimbabwe were also included in the competition.
On 20 September 2012, the South African Rugby Union announced the launch of the SARU Community Cup to replace the National Club Championships. The inaugural edition started in February 2013. Several rugby union clubs in South Africa are affiliated to universities, which can play in the annual Varsity Rugby tournaments. The Community Cup was created for the non-university clubs to run in parallel with Varsity Rugby.
After three seasons during which the matches were played over the Easter Weekend, it was rebranded as the SARU Gold Cup, moved to a timeslot later in the year and also included teams from Namibia and Zimbabwe.
Each season, twenty teams qualify for the Gold Cup from the club leagues of the fourteen provincial unions in South Africa. In addition, the Blue Bulls Limpopo sub-union also entered a team every year and from 2016 onwards, the champions of the Namibian and Zimbabwean club competitions would also enter. The defending champions of the Gold Cup would automatically qualify to the next edition. Each of the provincial unions would nominate a team which would automatically qualify for the competition – it is dependent on the rules of the individual league whether this will be the team that finishes top of the log during the round-robin stage of the competition or the title play-off winner. All university teams are ineligible and would be excluded from participation.
In addition to the automatic qualifiers, the remainder of the participating teams would consist of wildcard entries. For 2013 and 2014, teams were nominated to enter a wildcard draw, but from 2015 onwards a play-off competition was introduced, where the second-best eligible teams from the provincial unions could play off for the remaining spots.
The format of the Gold Cup is the same as the Rugby World Cup. The teams are divided into four pools, each containing five teams. They then play four pool games, playing every other teams in their respective pools once. Each team plays two home games and two away games.
The winner and runner-up of each pool enter the play-off stage, held at a neutral venue over the Easter long weekend each year. The play-offs consist of quarter finals, semi-finals and the final. The winner of each pool meets the runner-up of a different pool in the quarter final. The winner of each quarter-final goes on to the semi-finals and the semi-final winners to the Cup final. The losing semi-finalists play each other in the 3rd-place play-off. The losing quarter finalists meet in the Plate semi-final, the winners of which will play in the Plate final, with the losers playing in the 7th-place play-off.
The teams that participated in the SARU Gold Cup and their finishing positions are as follows:
|SARU Community / Gold Cup participants|
|Team||Union||Community Cup||Gold Cup|
|African Bombers||Eastern Province||12||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Bloemfontein Crusaders||Free State||15||10||15||N/A|
|Bloemfontein Police||Free State||20||N/A||N/A||18|
|College Rovers||Kwa-Zulu Natal||2||4||6||6|
|Durban Collegians||Kwa-Zulu Natal||N/A||N/A||9||14|
|East London Police||Border||N/A||N/A||N/A||16|
|False Bay||Western Province||N/A||N/A||N/A||2|
|Mossel Bay Barbarians||SWD||N/A||14||N/A||N/A|
|Noordelikes||Limpopo Blue Bulls||19||19||19||N/A|
|Northam Rhinos||Limpopo Blue Bulls||N/A||N/A||N/A||17|
|Port Elizabeth Police||Eastern Province||N/A||N/A||17||8|
|Pretoria Police||Blue Bulls||6||N/A||5||5|
|SK Walmers||Western Province||11||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Spring Rose||Eastern Province||N/A||12||N/A||N/A|
- The top eight teams are ranked by the results of the finals tournament. Teams 9 to 20 are ranked by their final log position in the pool stages.
- N/A indicates the team did not qualify to the relevant edition of the SARU Gold Cup.
- (Q) indicates the team qualified to the next edition of the SARU Gold Cup.
- "Club rugby in South Africa receives a major boost". South African Rugby Union. 20 Sep 2012. Retrieved 20 Sep 2012.
- "Club rugby revival enters new 'Golden' era" (Press release). South African Rugby Union. 14 December 2015. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
- "Cell C named as Community Cup sponsor". South Africa Rugby Union. 6 February 2013. Retrieved 6 February 2013.