Tuesday 29th November 2016
Club Rugby once again experienced a fantastic season of intense and quality community rugby across all competitions as all clubs continue their struggle to outperform their rivals on and off the field of play.
With the current league format finishing off its 3rd year, the excitement and anticipation of club rugby matches have experienced huge growth and interest from young and old.
False Bay defied history and lifted the Super League A title for the first time in more than 40 years as they pipped traditional leaders Stellenbosch University. Union-Milnerton lifted the Super League B title and will enter unchartered waters in 2017 when they do battle in the top league of club rugby for the first time in the history of the club. Rangers (Surrey Estate) quickly reclaimed their spot in Super League B when they were crowned Super League C champions and subsequently gained promotion.
The 2016 club rugby season once again reached a fantastic climax on Heritage Day when the President’s Cup finals were played at DHL Newlands Stadium. Rangers recorded the elusive double when they pipped Paarl in the Super League C final. The Super League B final saw the upset of the year when Hamlets snapped victory with the last kick of the match and defeated Union-Milnerton. The Super League A final was an all Stellenbosch University affair with Maties easily running out champions over Victorians to lift the coveted President’s Cup for 2016.
2016 was also a huge year for local Sevens Rugby. The WPRFU concluded partnerships with a group of sponsors that enabled them to launch a fantastic WPRFU Score Club Rugby Sevens Tournament over 6 weeks at Goodwood Sports Stadium in Goodwood. Score Energy Drinks came on board as the title sponsor of the tournament and attracted no less than 36 quality clubs participating in this exciting event.
In what was a fun-filled and exciting tournament, it was Bellville who came up trumps as Cup Champions after defeating Kuilsriver in a pulsating final.
In the promotion stakes, Union-Milnerton and Pniel Villagers gained promotion to Super League A. Rangers, Paarl and Franschhoek gained promotion to Super league B and Vineyards, All Saints and Busy Bees gained promotion to Super League C. The clubs being relegated include Sir Lowrians and Kuilsriver to Super League B. Goodwood, Strand and Macassar were relegated to Super league C and Blue Jets, Silverleaf and Masiphumele were relegated to the respective regional leagues.
In the Paarl Region, Lower Paarl retained their league title for the second year running. In Simonsberg Region Morning Star was crowned champions after a splendid season on the field while Young Attackers scooped the Sunday League title.
The strength of Club Rugby in Western Province is built on the statistical proof supported by the ScrumIT system. There are currently 14 617 registered club players within the WP club rugby structures (1873 more than 2015 representing a 14.6% increase). This number is further broken down to represent 14 200 male players and 417 female players. The average increase in the number of registered players also shows a 15.2% increase in females taking up the game of rugby as their preferred sport.
Demographically, 2016 witnessed a decrease in the average playing age. 43.2% of all WP Club Rugby players are 23 years old and younger which indicates the excitement amongst the youth playing the game.
Across all competitions in 2016, a mammoth 2744 competition rugby matches were played which excludes all friendly matches.
In addition to the above leagues, the WP Club Rugby department also arranged competitions in the following leagues; the U/20 Reserve competition where Brackenfell emerged the winners, the Reserve league competition was won by False Bay and in the Women’s competition; Union-Milnerton was crowned the champions for the year.
In the Gold Cup competition (previously the Community Cup), False Bay crowned a very successful year when they represented WP Rugby in the final and unfortunately lost out to a classy Rustenburg Impala outfit.
The team made us all proud as we also hosted an all WP Rugby semi-final when False Bay and DurBell clashed in a historic Sunday afternoon fixture in Durbanville. The game was garnered so much attention that it was even trending on Twitter – a feat that should not go unrecognized.
The DHL WP Emerging Team corrected the slip up in 2015 and was crowned the champions of the 2016 Southern Amateur Provincial Competition in George. This is the 4th time in 5 years that the team took top honors in this competition.
The WPRFU have since applied to SARU for an additional team to take part in the competition next season and currently await the decision.
A special word of congratulations must surely go to Eersterivier RFC for receiving the Referees Award for fair play after receiving only 2 yellow cards for the entire rugby season with not a single red card!
In recognition of his superb season for Tygerberg Rugby Club, Alvin Brandt was named the 2016 WP Club Rugby Player of the Year.