Ten teams will battle it out in two sections in the new format of the SA Rugby U19 Championship, which will be hosted in Paarl and Johannesburg respectively over one week in September.
The Coastal Section, which will run concurrently with the Iqhawe Week at Paarl Gymnasium, features four teams, namely Boland, Eastern Province, DHL Western Province and the Cell C Sharks.
The Inland Section, which will be hosted at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg, will feature six teams, namely the Vodacom Blue Bulls, Valke, Toyota Free State, Xerox Golden Lions, Leopards and Phakisa Pumas.
The teams in the Coastal Section will each face each other once during pool play, with the top team on the standings at the end of the three rounds advancing to the final, while the Inland Section will be played in a knock-out format based on the teams’ log positions from the 2018 season, with the top team earning their place in the final.
The final will be hosted at the home ground of the winner of the Coastal Section on the first weekend in October. Should DHL Western Province host the final, the match will be played as a curtain-raiser for the Springbok Women’s Test against Scotland at City Park in Athlone.
DHL Western Province will face Boland in an entertaining Western Cape derby on the opening day’s play of the Coastal Section on Monday, 23 September, with Eastern Province taking on the Cell C Sharks.
The first round of the Inland Section will see the Vodacom Blue Bulls take on the Valke, the Xerox Golden Lions face the Phakisa Pumas, and Toyota Free State and Leopards take on one another.
This will be followed by the second round of matches on Wednesday, 25 September, and last round of pool games on Friday, 27 September.
SA Rugby U19 Championship fixtures:
Monday, 23 September:
DHL Western Province v Boland
Eastern Province v Cell C Sharks
Vodacom Blue Bulls v Valke (QF1)
Xerox Golden Lions v Phakisa Pumas (QF2)
Toyota Free State v Leopards (QF3)
Wednesday, 25 September:
DHL Western Province v Eastern Province
Boland v Cell C Sharks
Semi-final 1: Winner of Q1 vs Best loser (based on points’ difference)
Semi-final 2: Winner Q2 vs Winner Q3
Playoff: Two other sides face one another
Friday, 27 September:
Cell C Sharks v DHL Western Province
Eastern Province v Boland
Winner SF1 vs Winner SF2
Four other sides to play for rankings
Final – Date and venue TBC