Some of the top deaf rugby players in South Africa will look to stamp their authority and play their way into contention for the SA Deaf Rugby national squad over the next week as they battle it out in the inaugural Stones Cup in Bloemfontein.
The tournament, which features the Blue Bulls Deaf team, Western Province Thunder Deaf, SA Deaf Invitational XV and the Western Province Cyclones Deaf, will go head-to-head over four match days, starting on Saturday. The team that finishes at the top of the log after their three matches will be crowned the Stones Cup champions.
The Blue Bulls Deaf will take on Western Province Thunder Deaf in the opening match of the tournament at 16h00 at Sentraal High School in Bloemfontein, with the SA Deaf Invitational XV going up against Western Province Cyclones Deaf at 18h00.
The teams will meet at Bobbies Park in the second round of matches on Wednesday, 3 April, which will see the SA Deaf Invitational XV being pitted against the WP Thunder Deaf, and the Western Province Cyclones Deaf taking on the Blues Bulls Deaf.
The final round of games will be hosted over two days, with the Western Province Thunder Deaf meeting the Western Province Cyclones Deaf in a Cape derby at Bobbies Park on Friday, 5 April, while the SA Invitational Deaf XV will line up against the Blue Bulls Deaf at the Toyota Stadium in a curtain-raiser to the Guinness PRO14 match between the Toyota Cheetahs and Ospreys.
The tournament will serve as the first South African Deaf Rugby matches since the encounter between the Blue Bulls and Western Province Deaf sides in 2005.
“This tournament serves as a huge milestone for deaf rugby in South Africa, both for the governing body (South African Deaf Rugby), and for the players,” said Mr Michael Oosthuyzen, SA Deaf Rugby President.
“The last time a competitive match was played was in 2005, and I cannot think of a better way to get back onto the field than to host an exciting provincial tournament in the Stones Cup.
“This is a first for South African Deaf Rugby, and we hope to grow this event into something special in future.”
The first five matches will be streamed live via https://digitv.co.za/#/school/events/17.
Stones Cup fixtures:
Saturday 30 March, Sentraal High School:
16:00 - Blue Bulls Deaf vs WP Thunder Deaf
18:00 - SA Deaf Invitational XV vs WP Cyclones Deaf
Wednesday 3 April, Bobbies Park:
18:00 - SA Deaf Invitational XV vs WP Thunder Deaf
20:00 - WP Cyclones Deaf vs Blue Bulls Deaf
Friday 5 April, Bobbies Park:
18:00 - WP Thunder Deaf vs WP Cyclones Deaf
Saturday 06 April, Toyota Stadium:
13:00 - SA Invitational Deaf XV vs Blue Bulls Deaf
Issued by SA Rugby Communication