Hollywoodbets are now title sponsors of the oldest knockout rugby competition in World Rugby, the Murray Cup.
Founded in 1890, the Murray Cup is the oldest knockout rugby competition in World Rugby, and the 2018 edition is set to kick off on Saturday the 4th of August.
The knockout competition involves rugby clubs from around the KwaZulu-Natal province, with the first round of matches seeing the top tier teams squaring off against the so-called second-tier club rugby teams.
Siseko Jafta, the KZN Rugby Union’s general manager, had a few words to say after the announcement.
”Sponsors are huge, especially at the grassroots level. As KZN rugby we want to introduce rugby to all corners of our province and this sponsorship allows us to do this.”
“With the introduction of a qualifiers round, all the top tier sides will play matches in outer areas like Port Shepstone, Newcastle, Empangeni, and Vryheid. This gives great exposure to top players and clubs in those areas.
“Without sponsors, finances for travel and prize money would not be possible. This sponsorship is huge from Hollywoodbets and we are eternally grateful for it.”
What are some of the changes to the Hollywoodbets Murray Cup format?
“When you look at the way rugby is currently changing, we wanted to add to that by bringing in subtle changes at club level. We identified the Murray Cup as the perfect platform for implementing those changes.”
“The purpose of these changes is to make the game faster and more exciting.”
“For example, there will be no kicking outside the 22 for the first ten minutes of the game, in order to change the thinking of the players and to improve their general skills.”
“Also, if a try is scored under the posts, the team will receive an automatic two points in order to halt any delays in play. In addition to that, kickers will have 30 seconds to kick over a conversion after a try is scored. ”
“With our involvement in club rugby, we understand that some players will not be at the professional fitness level as, for instance, your Sharks.”
“So we have added one strategic break per half, breaking the game into four 20-minute quarters. This gives coaches and assistants an opportunity to revise their game plans, while allowing the players to catch a breather.”
“We have also increased the number of players per squad to 25 as opposed to the 22 we’ve had in the past. This means each team can make a total of 10 substitutions during a match.”
Rules changes confirmed for the 2018 tournament
- No kicking outside of your own 22m for the first 10 minutes of each half;
- Tries scored under the poles do not require a conversion (automatic 7 points);
- Conversions must be taken within 30 seconds;
- One strategic break per half, meaning there will be four 20 minute quarters to the game;
- Each squad will comprise of 25 players.
Fixtures and teams to be announced shortly!