EP face Argentine XV in Bay
Fans can look forward to international rugby at the Wolfson Stadium in Kwazakhele next month when an Argentine Jaguares XV face the Multisure EP Elephants on July 27.
The inclusion of the Argentine side has added extra spice to a Currie Cup First Division programme that is expected to be fiercely contested.
EP’s Elephants will face a tough start to their campaign when they travel to Potchefstroom to face the Leopards on July 6.
After winning four of their four of their seven matches in the recently completed SuperSport Rugby Challenge series, EP are determined to carry their improved form into the Currie Cup.
The First Division will feature eight teams, with the Argentina XV and Namibia battling it out with defending champions SWD, Boland, Griffons, Falcons, Leopards and Eastern Province.
Last season the Leopards won four of their six matches to clinch third place on the First Division log.
After the league matches, the top four matches will advance to the playoffs.
During the Rugby Challenge, EP turned the Wolfson Stadium in a “House of Pain” for visiting teams, winning all their home games against the SWD Eagles, Border Bulldogs and Sharks.
With their confidence boosted EP will look to maintain their unbeaten in the Currie with home games against the Griffons, Argentina and the Falcons.
EP president Andre Rademan has urged his team to win the First Division and gain promotion to the Currie Cup First Division.
At this stage it remains unclear whether the team winning the First Division will gain automatic promotion to the top flight.
However, on a provisional fixture list released by SA Rugby September 6 and 7 and have been pencilled in as dates for Currie Cup promotion-relegation matches.
When SA Rugby officials were asked how promotion would work, they said a final decision had yet to made on whether there would be a playoff match or automatic promotion in the competition.
The Border Bulldogs will be playing in the competition in the place of the Namibian team, who have decided to withdraw.
The defending First Division champions, the SWD Eagles, start their campaign with a tough trip to the East Rand to face the Falcons.
The Jaguares, who will be based in Potchefstroom, start their campaign with a trip to Welkom to face the Griffons,
EP coach Chumani Booi says he be attending club games to scout for new talent to boost his team in key areas before the Currie Cup kicks off.
“Our preparation for the Currie Cup will start next week and I will be visiting clubs to watch a lot of players,” Booi said.
“In our squad there are certain positions that we need to strengthen. Will also be looking out for three or four players from other unions in critical positions if we are unable to find suitable players at our clubs.
“Our first priority, however, is to look for players at our clubs before going outside.”
EP officials said eight players who shone in the Rugby Challenge had been contracted for the Currie Cup.
They are Lindokuhle Welemu, Mihlali Mpafi, Johan van Wyk, Zingisa April, Richman Gora, Diego Williams, Sonwabo Montyoyi and Sherwin Slater.
EP’s Currie Cup fixtures
July 6: Leopards (away).
July 13: Griffons (home)
July 20: Boland (away)
July 27: Argentina XV (home)
August 3: Border (away)
August 10: South Western Districts (away)
August 17: Falcons (home).