The Currie Cup (currently sponsored by ABSA) is South Africa’s premier domestic rugby union tournament and is one of the oldest competitions in world rugby. It is contested each winter and spring (June to October) by teams representing either entire provinces or substantial regions within provinces.
When the first overseas team to tour South Africa stepped ashore in 1891 they carried with them a golden cup given to the British Isles squad by Sir Donald Currie, owner of Union-Castle Lines, the shipping company that transported them to the southern tip of Africa. The trophy was donated with the instructions to award it to the team in South Africa that provided the best opposition. This honour was given to Griqualand West who, in turn, donated the trophy to the rugby board and it became the prize for the Currie Cup. The inaugural Currie Cup tournament was held in 1892 and was won by Western Province. It has only been held on an annual basis since the 1968 season.
In 2004-05 the competition underwent a major overhaul, and six new franchises were introduced with the aim of producing a stronger top-tier of sides underpinned by a second-tier tournament based around the old provincial teams. Eight teams are in the Premier Division, and contest the Currie Cup. The other six teams are in the First Division, and play for the chance to be promoted to the Premier Division.
The qualifying rounds are contested in a double round-robin format, with each team playing all the others home and away. This makes 14 games in the Premier division and 12 in the First Division. Teams are awarded four points for a win and two for a draw. Single bonus points are awarded to teams for scoring four tries in a match, or losing a match by seven points or less.
At the close of the round-robin phase, the top four teams in each division advance to the knock-out stages, to contest the semi-final, and then the final. The winner of the Premier Division final wins the Currie Cup. The winner of the First Division final plays the team that finishes last in the Premier Division in a two-leg playoff to determine which team plays in the Premier Division the following season.
*From 2012 the Premier Division will be contested by six teams and eight teams will compete in the First Division. The new format is a result of the new Super Rugby season that will be split into two phases to accommodate the June inbound Tests and the Tri-Nations series, which will be expanded next year to a Four Nations tournament that includes Argentina.
The gold trophy remains one of the most coveted prizes in South African domestic rugby.
Currie Cup Betting
Betting on the Currie Cup is much the same as betting on any other rugby union competition. Odds are offered on head-to-head and Line betting. As well as the more traditional betting markets, there are also opportunities to bet on winning margin, highest try scorer and highest points scorer as well as the outright competition winner. There are also a host of special bets on the play-offs.
Currie Cup Odds
The Currie Cup remains one of the most popular rugby union competitions. The Premier Division receives widespread coverage with match and handicap betting opportunities available from the majority of sportsbooks. There are odds on the Currie Cup itself, league finishing positions and points totals.
There are betting specials for important games including half-time/full-time options, first scoring play, first player to score and total score. There can also be special markets for first card, highest scoring half and winning margin.