Mdantsane-based rugby team and reigning Eastern Cape Super 12 Rugby league champs Swallows Rugby Football Club (RFC) take on Springs in their first game of the Gold Cup today at Johannesburg.
Swallows are the only team from the Border region to participate in the competition.
The Gold Cup is an annual rugby union competition fought out among clubs of SA Rugby Union’s constituent provincial unions.
This year will be the third edition of the competition since its name change in 2016 and the sixth edition since it was launched as the Community Cup in 2013.
It runs from March 9 to April 14 and the number of teams participating have been reduced from 20 to 16.
Swallows coach Ntando Kebe said preparations for Saturday’s game were going well and the players’ performances were on point.
With the Border Rugby Union being liquidated last year, many players came back to play for Swallows.
“The players came back home, as this is where some of their rugby careers kicked off,” said Kebe.
Kebe’s expectations for the players throughout the Gold Cup is for them to reach the play-offs. and pull through from the group stages.
“I won’t put too much pressure on the players and say I expect them to reach the finals, but I want us to reach the semifinals,” he said.
Swallows president Mzingeli Matyeshana, on the other hand, expects the team to win the Gold Cup this year.
“We are just focusing on ourselves, we haven’t checked the tactics Springs use as our main priority is how prepared for the game,” Matyeshana said.
Swallows captain Samora Fihlani said the Gold Cup has been the one tournament they had been looking forward to since last year.
“Last year, we made sure that we win all of our games in the Super 12 so that we play in this league,as everyone was looking forward to be part of the Gold Cup. We have been playing together for quite a long time, I am sure we will perform well regardless,” of the league being difficult,” Fihlani said.