63 Premier League matches across 14 provinces
May 31, 2013
Centurion will be playing for a place in the 2014 Cell C Community Cup while Winter Rose and Swallows square up in an eagerly-anticipated Eastern Cape derby on a jam-packed weekend of club rugby across the country.

No fewer than 63 Premier League club matches, involving over 120 of SA's top clubs, will take place across the 14 provinces on Friday and Saturday as the season swings into high gear, with hundreds more clubs looking to climb the ladder in lower-league fixtures taking place everywhere from Richards Bay to Port Nolloth, and Moorreesburg to Hazyview.

All northern eyes will be on Pretoria this weekend, with two final-round Carlton League matches set to determine who represents the Blue Bulls in the 2014 Community Cup.

Defending champions Pretoria Police, who finished sixth in the inaugural Community Cup earlier this year, must beat resurgent Oostelikes to have any hope of re-qualifying.

The Bobbies are currently third with 21 points while Oostelikes have 20. Tukkies lead the standings with 27 points while Centurion have 23, which means they have their destiny in their own hands and only have to beat Harlequins away – no easy feat – to be assured of going through.

Police and Oostelikes, on the other hand, will be hoping for a Centurion defeat, which would then open the door for one of them to possibly overtake their rivals at the finish line.

What the Carlton and other Premier leagues across the country have shown so far is that there are no guarantees that the 20 clubs that competed in the inaugural Community Cup will return again next year, with no quarter being asked or given by rival clubs who are only too keen to play in SARU's flagship tournament for open clubs next year.

Only two of the 20 slots have been confirmed – as defending champions, GAP Despatch are assured of their place, while Bloemfontein Crusaders made history last weekend following their 46-17 Free State 1st League victory over CUT Tjisas by becoming the first wild cards in the short history of the Community Cup to requalify by right as their province's top open club.

Ceres and Roses United, who are both unbeaten, have opened up an eight-point lead in the Boland Premier League, with their top-of-the-table clash on 15 June in Wellington likely to give an indication as to who may be in the running for Community Cup qualifying come the end of the season.

With the Boland qualifier now decided over both rounds (18 matches) of the league, as opposed to a single round in years past, the race has become more of a marathon than a sprint.

Even so, defending champions Villagers Worcester, following two defeats in their opening five matches, will need to put together a string of good results if they are to eat into the 12-point gap between them and the front-runners.

A capacity crowd is expected in Mdantsane this weekend for one of the big matches in SA club rugby, as Winter Rose host Swallows in an important Border Premier League Pool A match. With five of the nine rounds played, Swallows currently lie second out of 10 teams in Pool A with 16 points, while Winter Rose, who have played one match fewer than their opponents, are seventh with 11 points.

The top four teams from both Pool A and B will qualify for the quarter-finals to be held in August, with the winner of the final on 7 September qualifying for the Community Cup. Defending champions Broubart Old Selbornian currently lie third in Pool B behind Police and Fort Hare.

Staying in the Eastern Cape, Community Cup champions GAP Despatch, who are unbeaten after six matches, will travel to Varsity Cup semi-finalists NMMU this weekend for a tantalising top-of-the-table clash in the EP Grand Challenge, while no fewer than six teams, separated by just four points, attempt to keep up with them in the chasing pack. The pick of the others games sees fifth-placed African Bombers travel to what it set to be a packed Central Ground in Uitenhage to play Progress.

Elsewhere around the country, Roodepoort will want to make it six from six in the Golden Lions Pirates Grand Challenge when they host Wanderers, while Community Cup finalists College Rovers, unbeaten after seven matches and favourites to re-qualify having shrugged off the challenge of arch-rivals Durban Collegians last weekend, are at home to Crusaders in the KZN Moor Cup.

And in the Western Provinces Super League A, all three teams in the running for the Community Cup are in action in two matches, with Durbanville-Bellville, currently third in the standings behind Maties and UCT, at home to fellow Community Cup side SK Walmers, who are struggling somewhat in sixth place with four wins from eight matches.

And in the other match, fifth-placed Hamiltons travel to Bellville hoping for a full haul of five points following their disappointing 19-15 home loss to the high-flying Ikeys last weekend.

This weekend's 63 nationwide Premier League club fixtures:

Blue Bulls – Carlton League, Saturday (Final Round):

Harlequins vs Centurion
Police vs Oostelikes Eagles
Silver Valke vs TUT
Tukkies vs Naka Bulls

Blue Bulls Limpopo – Boet Fick Senior League, Saturday (Round 2 of 10):

Noordelikes vs Letaba
Loskop vs Pietersburg
Messina vs Louis Trichardt

Boland – Premier League, Saturday (Round 7 of 18):

Roberston vs United Bulk Villagers Worcester
Roses Utd vs Black Leaves
Wesbank vs Vredenburg
Wellington vs Saldanha
Hawston vs Ceres

Border – Premier League, Saturday (Round 6 of 9):

Pool A:
Winter Rose vs Swallows
Young Leopards vs Wallabies
Africans vs Ntlaza Lions
Berlin vs Breakers
All Blacks vs Buffalo

Pool B:
Ready Blues vs Old Selbornians
Police vs Old Collegians
Cambridge vs Ocean Sweepers
Evergreen vs Ngculu Zebras
Fort Hare Blues vs King Brumbies

EP – Grand Challenge, Saturday (Round 7 of 16):

Grahamstown Brumbies vs Gardens
Kruisfontein vs Crusaders
St Marks vs Orlando Eagles
Suburban vs Utd Barbarians
Progress vs African Bombers
SAPS vs Park
Spring Rose vs Harlequins
NMMU vs GAP Despatch

Free State – 1st League, Friday/Saturday (Round 9 of 10):

UFS Irawas vs Bloemfontein Crusaders
CUT Tjisas vs CUT Ixias
Bloemfontein Police vs Shimlas

Golden Lions – Pirates Grand Challenge/Predator, Friday/Saturday (Round 7 of 11):

UJ vs Rustenburg Impala
Wits vs Randfontein
Roodepoort vs Wanderers
Pukke vs Raiders
Alberton vs Glasfit Pirates
Diggers vs Union

Griffons – 1st League, Friday (Round 8 of 12):

Henneman vs Welkom Rovers
Kroonstad vs Welkom

Griquas – Super League, Saturday (Round 9 of 14):

Aveng Moolmans Sishen vs Kuruman
Postmasburg vs Kimberley Police

KZN – Fidelity Security Moor Cup, Saturday (Round 8 of 14):

College Rovers vs Durban Crusaders
Durban Collegians vs Zululand Rhinos
Varsity College vs Harlequins
UKZN Impi vs Pietermaritzburg Collegians

Leopards – Neser A League, Saturday (Round 8 of 10):

Vryburg vs Potch Dorp
Matlosana vs Leeudoringstad
Lichtenburg vs Hartbeesfontein

Mpumalanga – Buscor Super League, Saturday (Round 9 of 14):

Sasol vs Middelburg
Lydenburg Rooikatte vs Witbank Ferros
Malelane vs Nelspruit

SWD – Premier League, Saturday (Round 10 of 22):

Bonnievale Utd vs All Blacks
Blanco vs Progress
Crusaders vs Barbarians
Silver Stars vs Groot-Brakrivier
Bridgton vs Pacaltsdorp Evergreens
Uniondale vs Swellendam

Valke – Peregrine Super League, Saturday (Round 7 of 10):

Boksburg vs NWU Vaal Pukke
Brakpan vs Benoni

WP – Super League A, Saturday (Week 9 of 24):

Durb-Bell vs SK Walmers
Belhar vs Tygerberg
Bellville vs Hamiltons