Currie Cup – First Division Kicks Off With Rematch Of 2023 Final

 

The Carling Currie Cup First Division for 2024 kicks off with a bang on Saturday, when the Valke host defending champions Sanlam Boland Kavaliers in a rematch of last year’s final at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park, in one of three opening-round matches.

Elsewhere, the Phangela SWD Eagles face Eastern Province in the first encounter of the new campaign which starts at 14h00 at the picturesque Outeniqua Park in George, while Border host the Leopards at Police Park in East London at 15h00.

Boland won two of the three encounters last year against the Valke, which included a 48-22 victory in the first round and, more importantly, the First Division final at home in June by a convincing margin of 43-21, which saw them lift the trophy for the first time since 2011.

Meanwhile, the Valke will be hoping they can deliver again the same sort of consistency of last year when they broke a 17-year drought to claim the Mzansi Challenge.

Hawies Fourie’s Bolanders finished just outside the top four of this year’s SA Cup, won by the impressive Suzuki Griquas, and on current form, the team from the Winelands – boosted by several new signings recently – will take some confidence into the match.

However, JP Immelman’s Valke showed in their 31-22 triumph last April between the two sides that they are a dangerous opponent on the hard surface of the Barnard Stadium.

SWD and EP shared the spoils between them last year, with the Eagles scoring a 20-10 win in the First Division clash in Nelson Mandela Bay, while EP took revenge by turning the tables for a 36-23 triumph in their Mzansi Challenge encounter in Riversdale.

In this year’s SA Cup campaign, the visiting Eagles won a thriller, 24-23, against EP and Zain Kirchner’s SWD outfit will be hoping to make home ground advantage count in this clash.

Border finished bottom and without a win in the recent SA Cup, and the East Londoners will be itching to get their Carling Currie Cup First Division campaign off to a better start when they welcome Leopards to Police Park.

The Leopards, on the other hand, won both of last year’s fixtures as well as their recent SA Cup clash, by a comprehensive margin.

The First Division teams will play against each other over five league rounds, with the semi-finals scheduled for 20 July and the final for 27 July.

Last season the Valke broke a 17-year trophy drought when they claimed the Mzansi Challenge after beating the SWD Eagles in a high-scoring final, but a week later they came up short as the Kavaliers were crowned First Division champions for the first time since 2011.

In 2022, the Griffons completed a perfect season by winning the Carling Currie Cup First Division title in the final against Eastern Province, and in the process, the Northern Free Staters were promoted to the Premier Division.

Other recent champions are the Leopards (2021), Jaguares from Argentina (2019), the SWD Eagles (2018), and the Griffons (2017 and 2016).

Match Information:

Phangela SWD Eagles vs Eastern Province
Date: Saturday, 15 June
Venue: Outeniqua Park, George
Time: 14h00
Referee: Sean Muller

Valke vs Sanlam Boland Kavaliers
Date: Saturday, 15 June
Venue: Barnard Stadium, Kempton Park
Time: 15h00
Referee: Paul Mente

Border vs Leopards
Date: Saturday, 15 June
Venue: Police Park, East London
Time: 15h00
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni