John Smit has thrown his weight behind the revival of club rugby with confirmation that the Gold Cup has secured a trio of dynamic sponsors for 2019.
SSG Holdings, who Smit serves as acting CEO, as well as Blu Approved and mobile app M4Jam have all joined on as sponsors for the 2019 edition of South Africa’s premier club competition.
The announcement, made by Smit and SA Rugby president Mark Alexander on SuperSport show Phaka, forms part of SA Rugby’s long-term strategy to reboot club and amateur representative rugby.
Smit, who played club rugby in Durban after signing with the Sharks out of school, said that the community-based nature of the Gold Cup would allow SSG, Blu Approved and M4Jam to talk directly to their target audiences in especially the fast-growing informal sector of the South African economy.
‘The local rugby club is at the heart of so many communities across the country and there is so much untapped potential for rugby and businesses such as ours, who operated mainly in this space, to collaborate,’ said Smit.
‘I’ve experienced personally how rugby can be a powerful catalyst for nation-building, but it is arguable whether we really exploited the full potential of our World Cup victories in 1995 and 2007.
‘Amateur club rugby is where rugby and communities are built from the ground up. The unsung heroes in these communities need to be given the opportunity to be celebrated and the Gold Cup is one of the ideal platforms to achieve this.
‘The Gold Cup’s vision of building communities and providing opportunities is shared wholeheartedly by SSG Holdings, Blu Approved and M4Jam. We are proud to be associated with the grassroots game and we look forward to seeing the tournament grow from strength to strength.’
Vibrant crowds are expected at this weekend’s first round of action in George, Worcester, Uitenhage, Durban, Pretoria, Welkom, Roodepoort and Springs.
The 16 competing teams are divided into four pools of four, with each team playing three matches in three weeks. The top two teams from each pool will contest the quarter-finals on 30 March.
Round 1 fixtures (Saturday, 9 March):
Progress George vs Durbanville-Bellville (George, 4pm)
Villagers Worcester vs Platinum Rhinos (Worcester, 4pm)
Gardens vs Secunda (Uitenhage, 3:30pm)
College Rovers vs East Rand United (Durban, 3:30pm)
Naka Bulls vs Sishen (Pretoria, 2:40pm)
Welkom vs Bloemfontein Police (Welkom, 3:30pm)
Roodepoort vs Rustenburg Impala (Roodepoort, 3pm)
Springs vs Swallows (Springs, 4pm)