The local domestic Women’s season kicks off on Saturday with a rematch of the 2010 Women’s Provincial Championship final between Western Province and the Golden Lions in Cape Town.
Last year WP managed to break a five year winning streak of Eastern Province when they defeated the Golden Lions to capture the premier domestic competition for Women. The Gauteng-based team now have an early opportunity to turn the tables on the champions, but they will not find it easy on WP’s home turf.
The recent advances by WP in the South and the Golden Lions and Blue Bulls in the North, means that the traditional strong teams of Eastern Province and Border might not have it all their own way again this season.
Mahlubi Puzi, the SARU Manager for Women’s Rugby, said he expects a very strong competition this year. “WP, the Golden Lions and the Blue Bulls have made huge strides in terms of the development of Women’s rugby and they are posing a huge challenge to the Eastern Cape teams.
“The structures in the South and up North are growing stronger all the time and I always said it would only be a matter of time before these regions start to produce good teams. EP and Border were hard hit last year by the withdrawal of their senior players for the national Women’s team. We can look forward to some very competitive matches, especially during the first three rounds of the competition when the national squad players are available before the start of the Nations Cup in August in Toronto,” explains Mr Puzi.
This year the fourteen provincial teams have been divided into two sections. Section A consists of ten teams – namely Eastern Province, Golden Lions, Blue Bulls, Western Province, Border, KwaZulu-Natal, Boland, Free State, SWD and Griffons while Griquas, Leopards, Mpumalanga and Falcons will compete in Section B.
In Section A, EP, Golden Lions, Blue Bulls, WP and Border are pooled together in Group 1 while the Group 2 teams are KZN, Boland, Free State, SWD and Griffons.
The teams will play a single round and the two top teams in each group will contest the semi-finals on 3 September 2011 for a spot in the final, which is scheduled for a week later. Section B starts on 30 July.
Meanwhile, the Under-16 Girls Week will take place next week in Mombela at the Hoërskool Skool Nelspruit.
Saturday’s first round Section A fixtures are:
Eastern Province vs. Border
Golden Lions vs. Western Province
Bye - Blue Bulls
KwaZulu-Natal vs. Griffons
Boland vs. SWD
Bye – Free State