Currie Cup set for significant overhaul

Revamping the Currie Cup: A Shift in Seasons and Structure

Member Feedback Spurs Change

Following feedback from member unions, broadcast partners, and commercial stakeholders, the Currie Cup Premier and First Divisions are set for a significant overhaul.

The purpose is to prevent scheduling clashes with European competitions, necessitating a new playing window.

New Schedule and Qualification Process

Starting in 2024, the Currie Cup competitions will be played from July to September, ensuring a distinct window in the rugby calendar.

The tournaments will feature the same eight Premier Division teams and six First Division sides as the previous year.

Additionally, the qualification process will be restructured from 2025, creating more opportunities for all member unions to participate in South Africa’s premier competition.

Introducing the “SA Cup”

Preceding the Premier and First Divisions in 2024, a new competition named the “SA Cup” (working title) will be introduced.

This competition, excluding the four Vodacom United Rugby Championship franchises, is scheduled from March to June.

A single round, followed by semi-finals and a final, will determine the winner. Players will then have a break before the Currie Cup commences.

A Broadcast Boost

In a major development, SuperSport commits to broadcasting all matches, whether through their DStv linear offering or various streaming platforms.

This commitment enhances the visibility of the Currie Cup, providing fans with increased access to the matches.

CEO’s Perspective on Change

Rian Oberholzer, CEO of SA Rugby, emphasizes the necessity of adapting to the evolving rugby calendar.

The decision to provide the Currie Cup with its dedicated window is seen as crucial for planning, contracting, and overall competitiveness.

Oberholzer believes that reclaiming the Currie Cup’s prominence requires strategic changes, making it more appealing to sponsors and fans alike.

Expanding Opportunities

The revamped approach aims to make the Currie Cup more inclusive. From 2025 onward, the top four teams from the “SA Cup” will join the four URC franchises in the Premier Division, promoting competitiveness.

This move is expected to attract sponsors at the provincial level, given the increased broadcast coverage of all matches.

Additional Changes and Considerations

The meeting also resulted in decisions regarding youth and women’s competitions.

A single-round competition for U19 teams is reintroduced, while U21s will have a double-round competition (Cup and Shield).

The U20 competition will be discontinued, and details for U19 and U21 competitions will be confirmed later.

Women’s provincial competitions will follow a structure similar to the 2023 season, with the Free State Women’s side earning promotion to the Premier Division.

In conclusion, these comprehensive changes aim to rejuvenate the Currie Cup, positioning it as a premier rugby competition in South Africa and ensuring a more vibrant and competitive rugby landscape.

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