Gold Cup set to kick off

False Bay’s Thabo Ngcongo and co will have their work cut out in their opening Gold Cup fixture against Heidelberg, on Saturday. PictureGavin Withers Photography

Defending Super League A (SLA) champions, Motorvaps False Bay, kick off their African Rainbow Community Gold Cup campaign on Saturday when they host Heidelberg from the South Western Districts.

The Bay, who missed out on qualification for the knock-out stages of SLA 2023, head straight into the national club tournament, revived after an absence of three years.

It’s a moot point as to which of the two competitions would have been higher on the list in terms of prestige, both carrying their own unique allure. The SLA is undoubtedly one every club in the peninsula would love to add to their list of achievements and this season six teams vie for that honour in a “last-team-standing knockout” series starting soon.

The final top six teams have not been finalised yet, seventh placed Maties faced UWC last night, result unknown, but are expected to bag a full five league points, which will see them leapfrog Durbell to take fifth position. Hamilton then lose out and slip out of the top six. Villager RFC finished on top of the table, and along with second-placed UCT, they gain automatic entry into the semi-final round.

The Africa Rainbow Community Gold Cup is the other competition of great prestige, its place on the national club rugby calendar however, susceptible to funding from willing sponsors. As an aside, this is disappointing as club rugby remains one of the most entertaining formats of South African rugby, with so much to offer.

False Bay won the Gold Cup in 2018, and after Covid interruptions, only one more edition of the competition has happened since.

The Constantia team are keen to impress on the national stage, and as evidenced by their opposition on Saturday, the greatest challenge for all teams is the unknown capacity of the opposition.

Teams need to be on top of their game or it’s moth-balls for the boots until next season, and it is this factor which will be driving False Bay on Saturday. It will be a major motivation for Heidelberg too, which augers well for an entertaining clash in Constantia on a weekend filled with rugby, especially with the Rugby World Cup kicking off in France tomorrow.

The Bay showed a return to capacity in the latter stages of their SLA campaign, perhaps consistency a challenge at times, and the energy and determination in the camp indicates that they are ready to take this opportunity with both hands.

Kick off is at 3.30pm. There are no curtain-raisers. Entrance is R20. Pupils enter free.

  • Jon Harris is a member of False Bay RFC.