In the picture with the old Community Cup which was last won by College Rovers in 2012 before the introduction of the magnificent Gold Cup are from left to right Thierry Kaute Kounga, Mark Richards, Thinus Volker, Coach Derek Heiberg and Skipper Chris Jordaan.
The opening round of the National Club Championship for the Gold Cup sees the 2016 champions Newrak Rustenburg Impala at home to Recall Security Bloemfontein Police while the runners up Direct Axis False Bay will entertain Roses United. With all to play for one would immediately look to these two sides to meet again in this years final but in competitions like this the unexpected can easily happen so its not that easy to really predict which way the competition will pan out.
Raiders from the Golden Lions and local side Go Nutz College Rovers will be the first two sides to be starting their respective campaigns outside our borders with Rovers leaving for Namibia Friday to face Western Suburbs in the beautiful town of Windhoek, while Raiders head off to Harare to play the Zimbabwean Champions Old Georgians.
Rovers have possibly one of the more difficult Pools to play in with the amount of travelling that they will have to endure. The two time champions who have played in five finals and came close to becoming the first club in KZN to win three championship titles and the Gold Cup in 2013 were edged out by Despatch with a last gasp penalty by Monty Dumond right on time. They did however get to keep the SARU National Club Champions Trophy becoming the last club to win the cup after beating Pretoria Police in the 2012 final.
Raiders will be up against an unknown quantity and will want to avoid the heartache that SA Home Loans Durban Collegians suffered last year with some questionable refereeing decisions. Raiders the Golden Lions Champions from Roodeport have had one of their better seasons this year and should more than hold their own against a side that doesn’t lie down and plays with dogged determination.
Its The KZNRU Fidelity Security Premier Division champions, however, that will be travelling into more of an uncharted territory as the little known club they face is a relatively young establishment by modern day standards having only been founded in 1979. Here they will catch up with Darryl del la Harpe who played a lot of his rugby here in Durban a few years back.
The two wildcards have been afforded home games to kick off their campaigns with Tygerburg hosting Progress Utenhague, while Swallows will be at home to Border Champions Mike Pendock Motors Old Selbornians with a number of their campaigners from last years competition back to do battle again including Rovers Old Boy Shane Spring together with Craig Green and Josh Basingwaithe.
In the other games Speedy Car Sales Vaal Reefs face Northam Platinum Rhinos on their home grounds and Human Auto Welkom Rugby Club entertain Sasol Hydra Arc Rugby. Sishen, Progress George, Quins Bobbies RFC and Vereeniging all have byes and will start their respective championship campaigns next week.