North vs South in Vodacom Cup

The northern unions get the opportunity in this year’s Vodacom Cup series to prove their domination of the competition in 2007 was no fluke with a new format seeing the seven northern teams playing the seven southern teams over a single round.

Last year’s competition, where the seven southern unions played six matches amongst themselves while the northern unions did likewise, was dominated by the northern sides, with Griquas winning after the hooter in their final against the Blue Bulls.

Both the losing semifinalists, the Pumas and the Leopards, also qualified from the northern section.

The Vodacom Cup kicks off on February 23 – and although the new format further increases the uneven playing ground with some sides now playing four home games and others just three, it does provide the Currie Cup hopefuls in the various teams with an additional opportunity to catch the eye compared to last year’s six games.

It also provides all the teams with different opponents from last year as well as a little more travel for all sides.

The Vodacom Cup has over time become a breeding ground for the Currie Cup coaches and the ideal place to groom young players for the tougher stuff ahead.

It does, however, have the downside that the draw and who plays who at home and away respectively has a great influence on the final placings.

Griquas start their title defence in an away match against border, while the Blue Bulls will travel to SWD for their first game.

The quarter-finals on April 26 will see the northern and southern sections briefly playing sides from their own pool, with the top side in the northern pool playing the northern side in fourth position, and number two facing up to number three, and the sides in the southern section doing the same.

Then it’s back to north versus south in the semifinals on May 3, with the final on May 10.



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