U21 Champs scheduled for Joburg

SA Rugby has announced that the U21 Championship, featuring five provincial teams, will be held in Johannesburg between 4-30 October.

The Lions U21 side will welcome their counterparts from the Sharks, Free State, Western Province and Vodacom Blue Bulls to their iconic stadium for this exciting, action-packed and streamlined tournament.

All teams will play each other once, with semi-finals and a final to conclude the showpiece of the best emerging South African rugby talent, with two matches to take place every four days.

The hosts will take on Free State in their opening match on Sunday, 4 October, a couple of hours after the north-south derby between  Western Province and defending champions the Blue Bulls. The Sharks have a bye in the first round.

SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus expressed his excitement about the tournament.

‘The U21 competition provides an important pipeline in our player development and scouting set-up, as well as a showcase for unions in terms of contracting senior players.

‘Traditionally, some exciting players emerged from this tournament and this time it will be no different. It will be great to see this age group showcasing their talents.

‘A lot of the players have already been spotted in our Elite Player Development structures, and we will be monitoring their progress with keen interest.’

All five teams will be based in Johannesburg for the duration of the tournament. Current Covid-19 regulations will be in effect, with no spectators allowed and limited working personnel in the stadium on match days.

2020 U21 Championship fixtures

Sunday, 4 October (Round 1)

Western Province vs Blue Bulls

Free State vs Lions

Bye: Sharks

Thursday, 8 October (Round 2)

Blue Bulls vs Free State

Lions vs Sharks

Bye: Western Province

Monday, 12 October (Round 3)

Western Province vs Sharks

Lions vs  Blue Bulls

Bye: Free State

Friday, 16 October (Round 4)

Western Province vs Free State

Sharks vs Blue Bulls

Bye: Lions

Tuesday, 20 October (Round 5)

Free State vs Sharks

Lions vs Western Province

Bye: Blue Bulls

Semi-finals: Sunday, 25 October

Final: Friday, 30 October

Photo: Gallo Images