The Cup of Champions has partnered with South Africa’s champion beer in a bold, new agreement that will see the world’s oldest provincial rugby competition officially become the Carling Currie Cup for the next three seasons.
The Carling Currie Cup will officially kick off on the weekend of 27/28 November, culminating in the final on Saturday, 23 January 2021. All log points from Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked will be carried over to the Carling Currie Cup.
The Toyota Cheetahs will defend the crown they won in the 2019 final against the Xerox Lions, as well as the Vodacom Bulls, Tafel Lager Griquas, Phakisa Pumas, Cell C Sharks and DHL Western Province.
The opening round of matches will see the Cell C Sharks host the Phakisa Pumas, Tafel Lager Griquas take on the Xerox Lions and the Vodacom Bulls travel to Cape Town to face DHL Western Province. The Toyota Cheetahs have a bye.
The action will build up to the semi-finals on Saturday, 16 January 2021, when the top four teams on the log will slog it out to progress to the final (23 January).
SA Rugby and South African Breweries (SAB) announced on Tuesday that they had struck a deal in which the award-winning Carling Black Label Beer assumes the naming rights to rugby’s biggest domestic prize – marking Carling Black Label’s debut in rugby, although the partnership between SA Rugby and SAB stretches back close to three decades.
“SAB has been a loyal partner to SA Rugby dating back to the days before rugby turned professional, so it gives me great pleasure to build on our association with them,” said SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux.
“This marks Carling Black Label’s first rugby sponsorship, and we are thrilled to have such a well-established and successful brand associated with the Currie Cup, which is a competition that prides itself on its rich heritage.
“This is a fine fit because just as Carling Black Label is the beer of champions, winning the Currie Cup competition remains one of the biggest achievements in South African rugby. This association also resonates with the camaraderie in the sport and amongst SA’s die-hard rugby fans.
“SAB, through its various brands, has promoted nation-building in sport, and particularly in rugby, and their association with the Carling Currie Cup comes at a time when nation-building is more important than ever.
“What makes this sponsorship even more significant is that Carling Black Label has partnered with us during one of the toughest economic climates in the sport and in business, and this certainly shows their passion for the Currie Cup and rugby.”
SAB’s founding brand, Castle Lager, began its association with SA Rugby and the Springboks in 1997 – succeeding Lion Lager, another SAB brand – which had been worn on the jersey when the team returned from isolation in 1992.
The partnership has included the sponsorship of the three annual Test competitions – the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, the Castle Lager Incoming Series and the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour – as well as of the Springbok Sevens and Springbok Women’s Sevens teams.
Carling Black Label Brand Director Arné Rust said: “Carling Black Label is proud to sponsor the Currie Cup. Not only are our goals closely aligned but the name itself is a pleasure to say, the Carling Currie Cup.
“Carling Black Label is a beer that recognises and rewards champions for their effort and achievement, and in our estimation, there is no greater achievement in local rugby than to lift the Currie Cup.
“Carling Black Label has supported local sport for a very long time and we will continue to do all we can to involve consumers more in the sports they love and to reward them for doing so.
“As South Africa’s most award-winning beer we welcome the partnership with South Africa’s most awarded trophy.”
Fixtures for the 2020 Carling Currie Cup (all subject to change):
Friday 27 November
19h00: Cell C Sharks v Phakisa Pumas (Jonsson Kings Park, Durban)
Saturday 28 November
16h30: Tafel Lager Griquas v Xerox Lions (Tafel Lager Park, Kimberley)
19h00: DHL Western Province v Vodacom Bulls (DHL Newlands, Cape Town)
Friday 4 December
19h00: Phakisa Pumas v Tafel Lager Griquas (Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit)
Saturday 5 December
16h30: Vodacom Bulls v Toyota Cheetahs (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria)
19h00: Xerox Lions v DHL Western Province (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg)
Friday 11 December
19h00: DHL Western Province v Phakisa Pumas (DHL Newlands, Cape Town)
Saturday 12 December
16h30: Toyota Cheetahs v Xerox Lions (Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein)
19h00: Cell C Sharks v Vodacom Bulls (Jonsson Kings Park, Durban)
Friday 18 December
19h00: Phakisa Pumas v Toyota Cheetahs (Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit)
Saturday 19 December
16h30: Tafel Lager Griquas v Vodacom Bulls (Tafel Lager Park, Kimberley)
19h00: Xerox Lions v Cell C Sharks (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg)
Saturday 26 December
16h30: DHL Western Province v Tafel Lager Griquas (DHL Newlands, Cape Town)
19h00: Vodacom Bulls v Xerox Lions (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria)
Sunday 27 December
16h30: Toyota Cheetahs v Cell C Sharks (Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein)
Saturday 2 January 2021
14h00: Phakisa Pumas v Xerox Lions (Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit)
16h30: Cell C Sharks v Tafel Lager Griquas (Jonsson Kings Park, Durban)
19h00: Toyota Cheetahs v DHL Western Province (Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein)
Friday 8 January
19h00: Phakisa Pumas v Vodacom Bulls (Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit)
Saturday 9 January
16h30: Tafel Lager Griquas v Toyota Cheetahs (Tafel Lager Park, Kimberley)
19h00: DHL Western Province v Cell C Sharks (DHL Newlands, Cape Town)
Saturday 16 January 2021: Semi-finals
Saturday 23 January 2021: Final
Shana Devitt I Editor