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hoto: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

hoto: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

East London Police and Your Communications College Rovers were confirmed as the final two qualifiers for the Gold Cup after two nailbiting play-off finals last weekend that were decided only in the dying seconds.

Veteran flyhalf Chris Jordaan ensured that he would play in his 10th national club tournament when he scored a try off the last scrum of the match to give Your Communications College Rovers a heartstopping 40-37 away victory over Blue Bulls Carlton Cup champions Matleng Centurion.

Rovers, the 2016 KZN Moor Cup league winners, will join fellow Sharks side SA Home Loans Durban Collegians, the reigning KZN Murray Cup knockout champions, in SA Rugby’s three-nation championship for non-university clubs, which kicks off next Saturday, 10 September.Rovers will join defending champions Durbanville-Bellville (WP), OneLogix United Bulk Worcester Villagers (Boland), Mike Pendock Motors Old Selbornians (Border) and Tiger Wheel & Tyre Welkom Rovers (Griffons) in what is set to be an unpredictable and highly competitive Pool A.

And in the other play-off final, East London Police, who went unbeaten this year en route to winning the Border Super League, came from behind to beat Vaal Reefs 32-23 in Klerksdorp to qualify for the Gold Cup for the first time.

The Bobbies’ victory means that Pool D becomes an intriguing and unprecedented “tournament within a tournament”, with no less than four Police teams – namely East London, Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth – set to do battle alongside Griquas champions Belaz Sishen.

The Gold Cup kicks off next weekend with 20 clubs once again competing in a Rugby World Cup-style format consisting of eight pool matches per week for five weeks up until 8 October. The top two from each group will progress to the quarter-finals a week later. All knockout matches, including the televised semi-finals (22 October) and final (29 October) will be hosted at participating clubs.

The rugby-mad Boland town of Worcester will host the televised opening match of the tournament when Worcester Villagers – at 133 years, the oldest club in the Gold Cup having been founded in 1883 – host Welkom Rovers in Pool A. The match will be broadcast live on SuperSport 1 & HD, kicking off at 14h45.

Full fixtures (all matches 15h30 unless otherwise indicated):

Round 1 (Sat 10 September):
OneLogix United Bulk Worcester Villagers v Tiger Wheel & Tyre Welkom Rovers (Boland Park, Worcester, 14h45)
Durbanville-Bellville v Mike Pendock Motors Old Selbornians (Durbell Rugby Club, Cape Town)
Pirates v FNB Wanderers Windhoek (Pirates Rugby Club, Johannesburg)
Northam Platinum Rhinos v Rustenburg Impala (Northam Rugby Club, Limpopo)
DirectAxis False Bay v SA Home Loans Durban Collegians (Philip Herbstein Field, Constantia, Cape Town)
White River v Old Georgians Harare (White River Rugby Club, Mpumalanga)
Belaz Sishen v Pretoria Police (Sivos Stadium, Kathu)
Don’s Pawn Shop PE Police v Bloemfontein Police (Kemsley Park, Port Elizabeth)

Round 2 (Sat 17 September):
Tiger Wheel & Tyre Welkom Rovers v Durbanville-Bellville (Rovers Rugby Club, Welkom)
Your Communications College Rovers v OneLogix United Bulk Worcester Villagers (venue & time TBC)
Pacaltsdorp Evergreens v Rustenburg Impala (Pacaltsdorp Sports Ground, George)
Pirates v Northam Platinum Rhinos (Pirates Rugby Club, Johannesburg)
SA Home Loans Durban Collegians v White River (Growth-Point Kings Park Stadium, Durban, 13h00)
Siyaya Brakpan v DirectAxis False Bay (Bosman Stadium, Brakpan)
Pretoria Police v Don’s Pawn Shop PE Police (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, Fri 16 September, 16h45)
East London Police v Belaz Sishen (Police Park, East London)

Round 3 (Sat 24 September):
Mike Pendock Motors Old Selbornians v OneLogix United Bulk Worcester Villagers (Mike Pendock Motors Park, East London)
Tiger Wheel & Tyre Welkom Rovers v Your Communications College Rovers – Rovers Rugby Club, Welkom
FNB Wanderers Windhoek v Northam Platinum Rhinos (Wanderers Club, Windhoek)
Pacaltsdorp Evergreens v Pirates (Pacaltsdorp Sports Ground, George)
Old Georgians v DirectAxis False Bay (Police Grounds, Harare)
SA Home Loans Durban Collegians v Siyaya Brakpan – KP 10, Kings Park, Durban
Don’s Pawn Shop PE Police v East London Police – Kemsley Park, Port Elizabeth
Bloemfontein Police v Pretoria Police (Bobbies Park, Bloemfontein)

Round 4 (Sat 1 October):
Your Communications College Rovers v Mike Pendock Motors Old Selbornians (KP3, Kings Park, Durban)
OneLogix United Bulk Worcester Villagers v Durbanville-Bellville (Boland Park, Worcester)
Northam Platinum Rhinos v Pacaltsdorp Evergreens (Northam Rugby Club, Limpopo)
Rustenburg Impala v FNB Wanderers Windhoek (Impala Rugby Club, Rustenburg)
White River v Siyaya Brakpan – White River Rugby Club
Old Georgians v SA Home Loans Durban Collegians (OGSC, Harare)
East London Police v Bloemfontein Police (Police Park, East London)
Belaz Sishen v Don’s Pawn Shop PE Police (Sivos Stadium, Kathu)

Round 5 (Sat 8 October):
Durbanville-Bellville v Your Communications College Rovers – Durbell Rugby Club, Cape Town
Mike Pendock Motors Old Selbornians v Tiger Wheel & Tyre Welkom Rovers (Mike Pendock Motors Park, East London)
Rustenburg Impala v Pirates (Impala Rugby Club, Rustenburg)
FNB Wanderers Windhoek v Pacaltsdorp Evergreens (Wanderers Club, Windhoek)
Siyaya Brakpan v Old Georgians Harare – Bosman Stadium, Brakpan
DirectAxis False Bay v White River (Philip Herbstein Field, Constantia, Cape Town)
Bloemfontein Police v Belaz Sishen (Bobbies Park, Bloemfontein)
Pretoria Police v East London Police – Police Rugby Club, Pretoria

Quarter-finals (Sat 15 October – Pool winners host all matches):
Winner Pool C v Runner-up Pool D
Winner Pool B v Runner-up Pool A
Winner Pool D v Runner-up Pool C
Winner Pool A v Runner-up Pool B

Semi-finals* (Sat 22 October):
Winner Quarter-final 1 v Winner Quarter-final 2
Winner Quarter-final 3 v Winner Quarter-final 4
* For each semi-final, the team with the most log points in the pool stages shall host the match. If both both teams have equal log points, Section 2, Clause 1 of SA Rugby’s General Competition Rules shall apply to determine home-ground advantage.

Final* (Sat 29 October):
Winner Semi-final 1 v Winner Semi-final 2
* The team with the most log points in the pool stages shall host the final. If both both teams have equal log points, Section 2, Clause 1 of SA Rugby’s General Competition Rules shall apply to determine home-ground advantage.

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