The Namibian (Windhoek)

Namibia: Regional Rugby Cup Launched

The newly launched regional Cup competition will hope to unearth more talent like Reho Falcon's Anthony Brandt (front).

The Namibia Rugby Union yesterday launched the Navachab Gold Mine Regional Cup which will kick off in Walvis Bay on Saturday.

The competition has been sponsored by Navachab Gold Mine to an amount of N$822 260 and will see a Namibian regional competition taking place again after an absence of many years.

At a press conference at the Namibia Rugby Union yesterday, its president Bradley Basson said the new competition would strengthen the standard of Namibia's national team while also giving more players throughout the country an opportunity to be selected for the national team.

"The aim of the NRU is to develop the regional competition to our premier competition where a higher-level, faster and harder rugby is played than at club level. The regional competition will give the top rugby players in Namibia from all regions a chance to be in action and get a fair chance to be included in the national training squad," he said.

The regional competition will be played over two rounds, with the first round to be played in March and April and the second round in October and November. In the first round, regional senior teams will compete along with the national Welwitschia team and the national Under-20 team.

The sponsorship will cover the travel and accommodation expenses, other peripherals, as well as N$140 000 in prize money.

At the end of the competition, the winning team will receive N$50 000, the runners-up N$40 000, the third-placed team N$30 000 and the fourth-placed team N$20 000.

There will also be a man of the match award of a pair of rugby boots after each match while the player of each tournament will receive N$2 500.

The teams have been divided into two pools, with Pool A consisting of Khomas, Hardap, Erongo and the Welwitschias and Pool B of Karas, Auas, Etosha and Namibia U20.

The first tournament will be played at the Jan Wilkens Rugby Stadium in Walvis Bay on Saturday, March 16, while the next two tournaments will take place on April 6 at Keetmanshoop and April 13 at Grootfontein. The final tournament of the first round will take place in Windhoek on April 20.

Basson said that negotiations with Navachab Mine had already started a year ago and thanked his board and CEO Sybrand de Beer for their hard work.

"It's a great pleasure to welcome AngloGold Ashanti on board as a stakeholder of the NRU. A lot of hard work went into this and I'd like to give Navachab Mine our commitment that we will make this tournament a success, so that next year we can also get other stakeholders involved," he said.

Basson also thanked Streethouse, which will sponsor the players' kits for the tournament.

The country relations and sustainability manager of Navachab Gold Mine, Chris Movirongo, said it was an honour to be a partner of the NRU.

"We believe this regional competition will bring back the excitement in the Namibian rugby fraternity by hosting the competition in different regions over four weekends, thus taking the sport code to the people. The Navachab Gold Mine Regional Rugby Cup will grow the sport code through promoting competitiveness amongst the players and also identifying new talent in the regions," he said.

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