Sponsorship boosts SA domestic rugby

8 August 2013

A R5-million prize purse will be shared out between the top teams in this season’s various interprovincial rugby competitions, including R1.8-million for the winners of the Absa Currie Cup. The victors will also receive a trophy that has been restored to its original glory.

Thanks to the sponsors, Absa, the Currie Cup Premier Division, the First Division, the under-21 A Division and the 19 A Division competitions will all benefit from the prize purse.

“The Absa Currie Cup is the ‘Holy Grail’ of South African rugby and now the winners will be rewarded as such and the trophy looks like it once more,” Jurie Roux, the CEO of the South African Rugby Union, said in a statement on Thursday.

‘Status and historical significance’

“The competition is massively important to the provinces, players, coaches and sponsors and by offering prize money for the first time in the competition’s history we’re underlining the Absa Currie Cup’s current status as well as its historical significance.”

Roux said the prize money would be split as follows:

 

  • Absa Currie Cup Premier Division champions – R1.8-million
  • Absa Currie Cup Premier Division runners-up- R1.2million
  • Absa Currie Cup First Division champions – R1-million
  • Absa Currie Cup First Division runners up- R500 000
  • Absa u21 A Division champions – R200 000
  • Absa u21 A Division losing finalists – R50 000
  • Absa u19 A Division champions – R200 000
  • Absa u19 A Division losing finalists – R50 000

 

The prize money will be awarded to the provincial union in each case to be used at their discretion. However, R200 000 of the R1.8-million awarded to the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division winner must be allocated to the Academy structures at the victorious union.

“The Absa Currie Cup is the oldest domestic rugby competition in the world, as far as we know, and the winners since 1891 have only ever received the trophy,” Roux said.

“The awarding of prize money aligns our premier domestic competition with the modern tradition of many top sports tournaments worldwide by financially rewarding provinces and their players for their hard work.

“Many iconic Springboks took the first meaningful steps in their senior rugby careers in the Absa Currie Cup and I have no doubt that this tradition will continue with the crop of young players coming through in South Africa,” he said.

Anchor of South African rugby

Bobby Malabie, Barclays Africa Group executive, said: “The Absa Currie Cup undoubtedly remains the cornerstone and anchor of South African rugby and the restored trophy and prize money will add to the prestige of the competition and serve as further motivation to players across all divisions.

“At the heart of the game there is respect, integrity, the desire for excellence and the camaraderie of match day for players and fans. This complements our human spirit campaign which promotes these values.

“At Absa we want to inspire people and work with them to excel. I am sure the 2013 edition of the Absa Currie Cup will live up to all expectations of another exciting season,” Malabie said.

To coincide with the new season, the famous trophy – first presented by shipping tycoon Sir Donald Currie – has undergone an extensive restoration to recapture its former glory.

A near century and a quarter of presentations and celebrations had taken their toll on a trophy that had been manufactured in 1875.

The Cup was returned to Garrard of London, the Crown Jewellers, from whose workshops it had first emerged. The handle, which had been damaged in recent times, was remodelled and the whole trophy given back its golden sheen.

“The trophy first arrived here 122 years ago and it was in need of a makeover after passing through so many hands in celebration,” said Roux.

“It is now restored to its original glory and is worthy once again of being the centerpiece of South African rugby. It is an iconic cup and will be the source of many more memorable rugby moments in years to come.”

SAinfo reporter and SA Rugby