PORT ELIZABETH – The Vodacom Cup competition enters its fourth year with the introduction of a new format aimed at generating heightened interest in the event.

The 2001 Vodacom Cup was officially launched by SARFU and Vodacom at Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth today.

The new format, modelled along similar lines to last year’s Bankfin-Currie Cup sees the participating teams divided into two sections. One section has eight, with the inclusion of Namibia’s Welwitchias, and the other has seven. Teams play a single round of matches within their section after which the eight teams with the most log points advance to the second round of the Vodacom Cup.

The remaining seven teams will contest the newly-introduced Vodacom Shield on a similar format to the Vodacom Cup second round.

Teams will carry forward points earned against fellow-qualifiers and, in the second round, will play against those teams qualifying from the opposite section. The top four teams after this round will qualify for the semi-finals.

Addressing the launch, SARFU President, Mr Silas Nkanunu, said the Vodacom Cup had achieved what it set out to do and could play a much bigger role in assisting SARFU to achieve its broader objectives.

‘There is no doubt that this competition has, in the last three years, given many young players the opportunity play Senior Provincial rugby and put themselves in line for bigger achievements.

‘One merely has to look at the current group of 30 contracted Springboks to get confirmation of this. Conrad Jantjes, Gavin Passens, Gaffie du Toit and Lawrence Sephaka are all Vodacom Cup graduates.

‘There are some who refer to the Vodacom Cup as a ‘Development’ competition. This may appear so based on the fact that, in particular, many young black players have been able to build rugby careers through opportunities provided by the Vodacom Cup. For SARFU, however, the Vodacom Cup is vehicle for ‘Transformation’ – viewed against the background of the objectives of our Vision 2003 strategy that are to transform, win, grow and be financially viable.

‘Through creating opportunities for young players of all races this competition is enabling us to naturally transform rugby into a truly National sport,’ Mr Nkanunu said.

Issued by SARFU
Enquiries: Anthony Mackaiser – 082-990-6920