EP Kings will face DHL Western Province in Round 1 of the Absa Currie Cup on 8 August at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
The fixtures for the Absa Currie Cup Qualifying Competition and the new eight-team Premier Division were released by the South African Rugby Union (SARU) on Tuesday.
The Qualifying Competition, which will be contested by GWK Griquas, the Leopards, SWD Eagles, Boland Cavaliers, Down Touch Griffons, Border Bulldogs and Valke, will kick off on the first weekend of June and run until 19 July, when the top team on the log will be granted entry into the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division.
The start of the eight-team Absa Currie Cup Premier Division – contested by the Cell C Sharks, DHL Western Province, EP Kings, Toyota Free State Cheetahs, Golden Lions, Vodacom Blue Bulls, Steval Pumas and the winner of the Qualifying Competition – is scheduled for the weekend of 8/9 August, a week after the Vodacom Super Rugby Final. It will run until the final weekend of October, when the final will take place.
The eight teams will be divided into two sections on 2013 log positions: Section X (DHL Western Province, Golden Lions, Vodacom Blue Bulls, EP Kings) and Section Y (Cell C Sharks, Toyota Free State, Steval Pumas, Qualifier). The teams will play home and away within their sections followed by a single cross-conference round before semi-finals and final.
In 2015, the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division will consist of the six franchise teams plus two non-franchise teams, which will be determined as follows:
• If the two non-franchise teams finish 7th and 8th in the 2014 Absa Currie Cup Premier Division they will both play in a 2015 qualification round of eight teams.
• If one non-franchise team finishes in the top six of the 2014 Absa Currie Cup Premier Division they will automatically qualify for the 2015 Absa Currie Cup. The other non-franchise team will play in a 2015 qualifying round of seven teams.
• If both non-franchise teams finish in the top six of the 2014 Absa Currie Cup Premier Division, they will automatically qualify for the 2015 tournament and there will be no qualifying tournament in 2015.
Absa Currie Cup Premier Division (home teams named first, final dates and kick-off times to be confirmed):
- Round 1 – 8/9 August
Vodacom Blue Bulls vs Golden Lions
EP Kings vs DHL Western Province
Steval Pumas vs Toyota Free State Cheetahs
Qualifier vs Cell C Sharks
- Round 2 – 15/16 August
DHL Western Province vs Vodacom Blue Bulls
Golden Lions vs EP Kings
Cell C Sharks vs Steval Pumas
Toyota Free State Cheetahs vs Qualifier
- Round 3 – 22/23 August
Vodacom Blue Bulls vs EP Kings
DHL Western Province vs Golden Lions
Cell C Sharks vs Toyota Free State Cheetahs
Steval Pumas vs Qualifier
- Round 4 – 29/30 August (Absa Currie Cup First Division starts)
Vodacom Blue Bulls vs DHL Western Province
EP Kings vs Golden Lions
Steval Pumas vs Cell C Sharks
Qualifier vs Toyota Free State Cheetahs
- Round 5 – 5/6 September
DHL Western Province vs EP Kings
Golden Lions vs Vodacom Blue Bulls
Cell C Sharks vs Qualifier
Toyota Free State Cheetahs vs Steval Pumas
- Round 6 – 12/13 September
Golden Lions vs DHL Western Province
EP Kings vs Vodacom Blue Bulls
Toyota Free State Cheetahs vs Cell C Sharks
GWK Griquas vs Qualifier
- Round 7 – 19/20 September
Vodacom Blue Bulls vs Cell C Sharks
DHL Western Province vs Qualifier
Golden Lions vs Steval Pumas
EP Kings vs Toyota Free State Cheetahs
- Round 8 – 26/27 September
Qualifier vs Golden Lions
Cell C Sharks vs EP Kings
Toyota Free State Cheetahs vs Vodacom Blue Bulls
Steval Pumas vs DHL Western Province
- Round 9 – 3/4 October (Absa Currie Cup First Division semi-finals)
Qualifier vs EP Kings
Cell C Sharks vs Golden Lions
Toyota Free State Cheetahs vs DHL Western Province
Steval Pumas vs Vodacom Blue Bulls
- Round 10 – 10/11 October (Absa Currie Cup First Division Final)
Vodacom Blue Bulls vs Qualifier
DHL Western Province vs Cell C Sharks
Golden Lions vs Toyota Free State Cheetahs
EP Kings vs Pumas
Semi-finals – 17/18 October
Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Final – Saturday, 25 October