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National places up for grabs at Currie Cup in East London

By Avuyile Sawula , in Water Sports | Featured Water Sports | News , at 2024-03-12 Tags: , , , , ,

The South African National Water Polo Championships, formally known as the “Currie Cup”, kick off this week in the Eastern Cape where the country’s u18 provincial teams will be chasing silverware, while players will vie for places in the national side.

The action commences on Thursday at the Joan Harrison Swimming Pools and will culminate with the boys’ and girls’ finals being played on Saturday morning.

The last edition of the event, in 2022, was also hosted in the coastal city. On that occasion, the Central Gauteng boys claimed top honours, while KwaZulu-Natal grabbed gold in the girls’ section.

It’s an important tournament on the country’s water polo calendar, as it serves as trials for the teams that will participate in the World Championships later this year.

The players selected from the boys u18 section will take part in the World Aquatics Men’s u18 Water Polo Championships, to be held at the Olympic Park Natatorium in Buenos Aries, Argentina from 2-8 July.

Meanwhile, the World Aquatics Women’s u18 Water Polo Championships will be held in China from 17-24 August.

Unlike the annual Inter-provincial tournament (IPT), the Currie Cup allows provinces to field only one team. This year, Buffalo City, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Tigers, Western Province, Central Gauteng and Nelson Mandela Bay will battle for supremacy.

Western Province, Central Gauteng, and KwaZulu-Natal are, undoubtedly, the favourites in the boys’ section, with the bulk of the players selected in those teams coming off impressive schools’ season.

Bishops shot stopper, Jordan De Sousa in action at the 2024 SACS Nite Series. De Sousa will represent Western Province at the Currie Cup in East London. Picture credits: MBL Photography (Milan Boolsen-Lotz)
Bishops shot stopper, Jordan De Sousa in action at the 2024 SACS Nite Series. De Sousa will represent Western Province at the Currie Cup in East London. Photo: MBL Photography (Milan Boolsen-Lotz)

Province will be coached by Bishops’ head coach, Jabulani Sibiya. He’s in charge of an all-star team, which includes, among others, Bishops’ Jordan De Sousa and Ross Stewart, SACS’ Nicholas Fall and Zack Cicero, and Adam October and Pierre Du Plessis of Paul Roos.

Central Gauteng, on the other hand, will be led by Jon-Marc de Carvalho, from St John’s College.

His side features a mix of players from St John’s, King Edward VII, and St David’s Marist Inanda.

St John ‘s star Greg Pryce is among the players to look out for in that side, and alongside his schoolmates, Ross Rovelli and Nicholas Searle, will be eager to land another Currie Cup title for the province.

Rob Ambler’s KwaZulu-Natal side are not to be ruled out and will be sniffing an opening after they finished third in last December’s IPT.

The girls’ section will also be interesting, with very little likely to separate the top sides.

Central Gauteng is one of the favourites to claim the title. In December, they won the Inter-Provincial crown, edging out Western Province 12-10 in a heated final at Grey High School.

Province, however, has a more settled team, with a majority of the players who took part in the IPT, returning for the Currie Cup.

Led by Connor Whiting, the side welcomes back the likes of Alexa de Villiers, Amy van Breda, Emma Catto, Isabella Tooley, and Reddam House Constantia’s Hannah Banks.

Clarendon Girls High's Tori Voke in action for her side. Voke will also represent Buffalo City in the upcoming Currie Cup in East London. Picture credits: Clarendon School for Girls
Clarendon Girls High’s Tori Voke in action for her side. Voke will also represent Buffalo City in the upcoming Currie Cup in East London. Photo: Clarendon School for Girls

Another team that will be aiming to cause an upset and give the home crowd something to cheer is the Buffalo City team, coached by former South African player, Hanna Muller.

Muller impressively led the side to a sixth-place finish in last year’s IPT and will rely on players like Jasmine Koch, Maya Klopper, and Tori Voke to ignite a spark in the home side.

In the boys’ pool, Western Province will get matters underway against Northern Tigers bright and early at 07:00 on Thursday morning. The girls’ section will launch an hour later, with KwaZulu-Natal taking on Nelson Mandela Bay.

Fixtures

u18 Boys

Thursday, 14 March 2024

07:00 – Western Province vs Northern Tigers; 08:00 – Central Gauteng vs Nelson Mandela Bay; 09:00 – KwaZulu-Natal vs Buffalo City; 11:00 – Nelson Mandela Bay vs Western Province; 12:00 – Buffalo City vs Northern Tigers; 13:00 – KwaZulu-Natal vs Central Gauteng; 15:00 –Western Province vs Buffalo City; 16:00 – Nelson Mandela Bay vs KwaZulu-Natal; 17:00 – Central Gauteng vs Northern Tigers.

Friday, 15 March 2024

07:00 – KwaZulu-Natal vs Western Province; 08:00 – Central Gauteng vs Buffalo City; 09:00 – Northern Tigers vs Nelson Mandela Bay; 12:00 – Western Province vs Central Gauteng; 13:00 – Northern Tigers vs KwaZulu-Natal; 14:00 – Buffalo City vs Nelson Mandela Bay; 16:00 – Semi-final 1; 17:00 – Semi-final 2.

Saturday, 16 March 2024

09:00 – 3rd/4th play-off; 11:00 – FINAL.

Fixtures

u18 Girls

Thursday, 14 March 2024

08:00 – KwaZulu-Natal vs Nelson Mandela Bay; 09:00 – Buffalo City vs Western Province; 12:00 – Nelson Mandela Bay vs Central Gauteng; 13:00 – Buffalo City vs KwaZulu-Natal; 16:00 – Central Gauteng vs Western Province; 17:00 – Nelson Mandela Bay vs Buffalo City.

Friday, 15 March 2024

08:00 – Central Gauteng vs Buffalo City; 09:00 –KwaZulu-Natal vs Western Province; 12:00 – Central Gauteng vs KwaZulu-Natal; 13:00 – Western Province vs Nelson Mandela Bay; 16:00 – Semi-final 1; 17:00 – Semi-final 2.

Saturday, 16 March 2024

08:00 – 3rd/4th play-off; 10:00 – FINAL.

error: Sorry ol' chap, those shenanigans are not permissible.