The Currie Cup season will launch into full swing on Friday when the First Division – proudly sponsored by DirectAxis and Nashua – kicks off in Potchefstroom.
Last year’s runners up, the Leopards, will host the SWD Eagles in the opening match at Profert Olën Park, while Saturday’s action sees Eastern Province take on the Boland Cavaliers at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, the Down Touch Griffons go up against the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias at the HT Pelatona Projects Stadium in Welkom and the Border Bulldogs line up against the Hino Valke at the BCM Stadium in East London.
In Potchefstroom, the Leopards, champions in 2015 when they defeated the SWD Eagles in the final, will have their sights set on another strong start to the season after a clean-sweep of victories in the lead-up to last year’s final. SWD have only won one of the last seven outings between the sides, but this statistic is expected to fuel their motivation to win.
The last time Eastern Province and the Boland Cavaliers met was in the Currie Cup Premier Division last season, with the Wellington side emerging 28-10 victors. Eastern Province, however, won three of their four fixtures in the Currie Cup First Division the last time they met in the competition in the 2013 and 2012 seasons.
Defending champions, the Down Touch Griffons, will be determined to pick up where they left off last season after registering surprise away victories in the semi-final and final when they meet the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias in Welkom. The visitors from Namibia will have everything to play for after a disappointing debut season in which they were unable to win a match.
The Border Bulldogs, meanwhile, will be hunting their first home win against the Hino Valke in the competition in three years when the sides meet at the BCM Stadium, although they will be inspired by their 54-29 away win last season.
Currie Cup First Division Round 1 fixtures:
Friday, 25 August:
Leopards v SWD Eagles
Venue: Profert Olën Park, Potchefstroom
Referee: Egon Seconds
Assistant Referees: Orgeopotse Rametsi & Godwill Morobe
Saturday, 26 August:
Eastern Province v Boland Cavaliers
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant Referees: Sindile Ngcese & Phumzile Mbewu
Down Touch Griffons v Windhoek Draught Welwitschias
Venue: HT Pelatona Projects Stadium, Welkom
Referee: Jaco Pretorius
Assistant Referees: Griffon Colby & Eon van Zyl
Border Bulldogs v Hino Valke
Venue: BCM Stadium, East London
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant Referees: Rodney Boneparte & JP Clements