Sunday, January 16, 2011

Vodacom Cup Fixtures Released

During the week the South African Rugby Union confirmed the fixture list for the 2010 Vodacom Cup which will be played from February - May with the first round taking place on February 26. The competition is divided into two groups - the Northern and the Southern section. In last years event both groups had seven South African sides in each as well as one invitational side in each group: the Pampas XV from Argentina in the Southern Group and and the Welwitchias from Namibia in the Northern. For this years event, however, the Pampas XV will be in the Northern section. The Welwitchias play both at home as well as in South Africa but the Pampas XV only play away due to the distance between South Africa and Argentina.

The tournament is a feeder competition with the objective of getting potential Super Rugby players ready and giving them game time in a competition played at the same time as Super Rugby itself. Argentina and Namibia entered the Vodacom Cup in 2009 and did so for the same reason - to bridge the gap between domestic club rugby and, in their case, the international game. Las Pampas XV is coached by Daniel Hourcade and Mauricio Reggiardo with the pair looking to use the opportunity to Argentina´s advantage by giving the players sufficient game time to push for a place in Los Pumas and indeed in the squad for the Rugby World Cup.

The biggest win for Las Pampas in the 2010 Vodacom Cup was a 73-14 victory vs the Border Bulldogs in Round three. The Argentine side did not make the play-off´s but did play good rugby and various players from the team indeed impressed so much that and were signed to play professional rugby as a result. For instance inside centre Santiago Fernández and winger Martín Bustos Moyano both signed for Montpellier in France after impressing for the Pampas XV. Fullback Martín Rodriguez Gurruchaga was snapped up by Stade Français, scrumhalf Agustín Figuerola signed for Brive and centre Miguel Avramovic and backrower Alejandro Campos both signed for Agen. London club Harlequins signed flyhalf Benjamin Urdapilleta and Irish side Leinster signed Mariano Galarza. None of these players will feature in this years Vodacom Cup but clearly the quality of players is high and the opportunity they have is unique. The Pampas XV will feature players who represented Argentina in international matches in 2010 such as hooker Agustín Creevy, backrowers Genaro Fessia, Miguel de Achaval and Julio Farías Cabello and secondrower Santiago Guzmán.

25 Free State vs Valke, Bloemfontein
25 Border vs Leopards, East London
25 EP Kings vs Welwitchias, Port Elizabeth
26 Western Province vs Golden Lions, Cape Town
26 SWD Eagles vs Pumas, George
26 Sharks XV vs Blue Bulls, Durban
26 Boland vs Griquas, Wellington
26 Pampas XV vs Griffons 

March 2011
5 Blue Bulls vs Boland, Pretoria
5 Golden Lions vs Pampas XV, Johannesburg
5 Griffons vs SWD Eagles, Welkom
5 Griquas vs Border 00:00, Kimberley
5 Leopards vs EP Kings, Potchefstroom
5 Pumas vs Free State 00:00, Witbank
5 Valke vs Western Province, Kempton Park
5 Welwitchias vs Sharks XV, Windhoek

11 Border vs Griffons, East London
11 EP Kings vs Pumas, Port Elizabeth
12 SWD Eagles vs Griquas, George
12 Free State vs Leopards, Bloemfontein
12 Western Province vs Welwitchias, Cape Town
12 Sharks XV vs Valke, Durban
12 Boland vs Golden Lions, Wellington
12 Pampas XV vs Blue Bulls 

19 Blue Bulls vs Western Province, Pretoria
19 Golden Lions vs Sharks XV, Johannesburg
19 Griffons vs Boland, Welkom
19 Griquas vs Pampas XV, Kimberley
19 Leopards vs SWD Eagles, Potchefstroom
19 Pumas vs Border, Witbank
19 Valke vs EP Kings, Kempton Park
19 Welwitchias vs Free State, Windhoek

25 EP Kings vs Golden Lions, Port Elizabeth
25 Border vs Valke, East London
26 SWD Eagles vs Welwitchias, George
26 Free State vs Blue Bulls, Bloemfontein
26 Western Province vs Griquas, Cape Town
26 Sharks XV vs Griffons, Durban
26 Boland vs Pumas, Wellington
26 Pampas XV vs Leopards

April 2011
1 Griquas vs Sharks XV, Kimberley
1 Valke vs SWD Eagles, Kempton Park
2 Blue Bulls vs EP Kings, Pretoria
2 Golden Lions vs Free State, Johannesburg
2 Leopards vs Boland, Potchefstroom
2 Pumas vs Pampas XV, Witbank
2 Welwitchias vs Border, Windhoek
2 Griffons vs Western Province, Welkom

8 Border vs Blue Bulls, East London
9 Free State vs Griffons, Bloemfontein
9 Western Province vs Pumas, Cape Town
9 Pampas XV vs Valke 
9 EP Kings vs Griquas, Port Elizabeth
9 SWD Eagles vs Golden Lions, George
9 Sharks XV vs Leopards, Durban
9 Boland vs Welwitchias, Wellington

15 Griquas vs Free State, Kimberley
16 Blue Bulls vs SWD Eagles, Pretoria
16 Golden Lions vs Border, Johannesburg
16 Griffons vs EP Kings, Welkom
16 Leopards vs Western Province, Potchefstroom
16 Pumas vs Sharks XV, Witbank
16 Valke vs Boland, Kempton Park
16 Welwitchias vs Pampas XV, Windhoek

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