Saru has finalised the four pools for next year’s new open-club competition .
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers, coach Heyneke Meyer and Saru president Oregan Hoskins made the draw at the team’s hotel in London.
There will be four pools of five open clubs competing in the inaugural tournament, which replaces the old National Club Championships. The top-two finishers in each group will advance to the knockout rounds.
The campaign starts on 16 February, with eight first-round match-ups and ends with the play-offs over the Easter weekend in George. This will see the tournament run at the same time as the Varsity Cup.
‘It’s fantastic to see club rugby coming back on to the radar and I feel privileged to have been able to draw the names of the first teams to ever play in the Community Cup,’ said De Villiers, who played club matches for Maties against Tygerberg and Villager in the Western Province Super League as recently as 2006.
‘Club rugby got left behind by professionalism in the sense that it was put on the back burner for a long time, but now competitions such as the Varsity Cup and Community Cup will hopefully ensure that club players have a proper stage on which to show just how much talent we have in this country which we’ve only just begun to tap into.’
Every weekend, there will be one league match televised, starting with the opening ceremony in Durban at College Rovers. Most of the play-off games will be televised.
The Community Cup fixture schedule will be finalised over the next week.
College Rovers (KZN)
Villagers Worcester (Boland)
SK Walmers (WP, wildcard)
Pretoria Police (Blue Bulls)
Bloemfontein Police (Free State)
Welkom Rovers (Griffons)
African Bombers (EP, wildcard)
Rustenburg Impala (Leopards)
Bloemfontein Crusaders (Free State, wildcard)
Raiders (Lions, wildcard)
Old Selbornians (Border)
White River (Mpumalanga)
Roses Utd (Boland, wildcard)