SA Rugby has announced the pools for the inaugural Gold Cup taking place in September.
The Gold Cup replaces the Community Cup and changes from being a pre-season tournament to a post-season one.
The competition also expands from 18 to 20 non-university clubs and includes the non-university champions from Namibia and Zimbabwe.
The tournament kicks off on Saturday, 10 September and sees the 20 clubs competing in a World Cup-style format, with five weeks of pool matches and the top two from each group progressing to the knockout stage. The tournament features 47 matches.
Of the 20 clubs taking part, 17 have already been confirmed including Nambia’s Windhoek Warriors. The club competing from Zimbabwe will be confirmed on 11 June.
The two remaining slots for South African non-university clubs will be decided by 2016’s provincial leagues, with those teams who finish as the best open clubs in their leagues this year, having not done so in 2015, playing off for the last two Gold Cup slots on 20 and 27 August.
These two qualifiers will become the fifth and final teams in Pools A and D respectively.
2016 Gold Cup Pools:
Durbanville-Bellville (defending champions, Western Province)
Villagers Worcester (2015 Boland champions)
Old Selbornians (2015 Border champions)
Welkom Rovers (2015 Griffons champions)
Rustenburg Impala (top Leopards non-university club in 2015)
Pirates (top Golden Lions non-university club in 2015)
Evergreens (2015 SWD champions)
Northam Rhinos (2015 Limpopo Blue Bulls champions)
Windhoek Wanderers (top Namibian non-university club in 2015)
False Bay (top WP non-university club in 2015)
Durban Collegians (2015 KZN champions)
White River (2015 Mpumalanga champions)
Valke – team to be confirmed
Zimbabwe – team to be decided on 11 June
Port Elizabeth Police (nominated by Eastern Province)
Pretoria Police (top Blue Bulls non-university club in 2015)
Bloemfontein Police (top Free State non-university club in 2015)
Sishen (2015 Griquas champions)
Photo: Roger Sedres/ImageSA