The Eastern Cape Super 14 rugby competition, the premier club rugby tournament in the province, is back, with preparations well underway.
A new steering committee was formed last Thursday in Makhanda, consisting of tournament director David Dobela (BRU), chairperson Freddie Makoki (BRU), DSRAC representative Anga Ngcebetsha, administrator Linda Matoti, EP representatives Sinazo Maxamba and Phillip Josephs, BRU representatives Simphiwe Ntalantala and Asanda Simoyi, marketing and media officer Yolulwe Qoshe, EP Referees’ Association Richard Jordaan.
The Super 14 is held annually, with this year the only time the competition did not take place due to the coronavirus
It is the flagship rugby tournament in the province with the department of sport, recreation, arts and culture (DSRAC) the main stakeholder in partnership with the Eastern Cape Sport Confederation (ECSC), the Eastern Province Rugby Union and the Border Rugby Union.
It pits the cream of rugby talent in the province against each other. Only the top six teams, determined by the log standings of each union’s top leagues, qualify. The top six in the Border Super League go head-to-head with the top six in the EP RFU Grand Challenge.
The steering committee decides who deserves to be the seventh participating club from each union, which enters the competition as a wild card.
No university sides are allowed to participate.
The format for the tournament is that the 14 teams are divided into two groups of seven with equal representation per union. The teams play in a round-robin format with the top two in each group going through to the semi-finals. The duration of the tourney is nine weeks, culminating in the final.
There is huge prize money, with teams also allocated transport costs for cross-union travelling. Each team also gets brand new kit, warm-up shirts and golf shirts for the tournament.
Both unions have agreed to submit their lists of teams in due course. It should be remembered that neither EPRFU or BRU had any formal league fixtures in 2020 and 2021.