CLUB rugby will step back into the television spotlight next month when two of the country's biggest derbies will be broadcast live during the second edition of the Cell C Community Cup, which kicks off on 8 March.
New ground will be broken at Bosman Stadium on Thursday 20 March when last year's bronze medallists, G5 Metals Brakpan, face arch-rivals Kaufela Boksburg in an eagerly-anticipated Pool C match that will be televised on SuperSport 1 & HD (kick-off 18:00). The East Rand derby will represent the first time open-club rugby has occupied a prime-time TV slot on a weeknight.
This follows confirmation that this year's opening match, between defending champions Gap Management Despatch and their Eastern Province rivals Spring Rose, will be broadcast live from the WJ de Wet Stadium in Despatch on Saturday 8 March (kick-off 14h30).
And the Community Cup Easter Championship play-offs, to be hosted at Outeniqua Park in George from 17-21 April, will once again be broadcast in its entirety – thereby bringing to 14 the number of live matches in the 2014 edition of SARU's flagship tournament for non-university clubs.
Additionally, a second six-part season of the popular Community Cup television magazine show, “Working-Class Heroes”, will be broadcast in a new timeslot, starting on Thursday 13 March at 19h00 on SuperSport 1 & HD.
“Club rugby is slowly but surely reclaiming the territory it has lost in recent years and we are very happy in particular to see the growth in TV exposure compared to last year,” said SARU CEO Jurie Roux.
“Apart from the 14 lives games, SuperSport will be covering each of the 40 pool matches for the magazine show, which means all 20 competing clubs will have a great platform to showcase themselves, both on and off the field.
“The popularity and reach of the Community Cup is growing rapidly and on that note we will also be making a number of other exciting announcements before the 2014 tournament kicks off in two weeks' time.”
The Community Cup begins on 8 March with eight pool matches taking place across the length and breadth of the country.
“No other tournament that SARU runs covers literally as much ground, or has the opportunity to leave its mark on so many geographically and culturally diverse communities,” said Roux.
“In the pool stages alone, clubs will be travelling nearly 25,000km, which is an average of over 600km per match. It's a tough tournament but club rugby players have never lacked an appetite for a challenge.”
The two highest-placed clubs in each of the four Pools will qualify for the Easter Championships.
The Cell C Community Cup 2014 fixtures can be sourced from the website by following the link under tournaments.