2013 South African Interprovincial Touch

April 3, 2013 @ 7:12 UTC

The Annual South African Interprovincial Touch tournament was held over the period 21-23 March in Cape Town. Twenty two (22) teams assembled across 4 divisions, with the 2013 event also seeing the revival of the Men's B division.

The Annual South African Interprovincial Touch tournament was held over the period 21-23 March in Cape Town. Twenty two (22) teams assembled across 4 divisions, with the 2013 event also seeing the revival of the Men's B division.

The Men's Open division was a very competitive event this year as all Provinces had trained hard and it showed in the performances and results. No team went unbeaten for the round games. The underdog teams like Eastern's and Boland managed to get a few of the big scalps. This resulted in the qualification for semi finals came down to the last minute after the hooter had sounded for finalisation of the qualifiers for day 3, which were Gauteng vs Western Cape and Natal vs Northerns

The semis saw Western Cape Mens team defeat the ever improving Gauteng side 6-1 and Northerns beat the well drilled Natal side 9-6 to set up a repeat of the 2011 edition

An entertaining final was contested, Northerns drew first blood early on and kept the lead for long periods in the first half scoring well executed tries. Half time score was 5-5. The2nd half saw a complete momentum shift to the side of Western Cape who scored at will and Northerns managed to get a few consolation tries in the end. The crowd was entertained with 17 tries being produced in a exciting final. Final score to Western Cape 10-7

The Ladies division was also more competitive in terms of results. Teams were beating each other with 1 point per match in comparison to previous years. Winning teams were required to work for every try scored. KZN went unbeaten for all the round games.

The semi finals saw a very strong Western Province ladies outfit defeat Eastern's Ladies who made their debut in the semi final stages 6-1. Natal the only unbeaten ladies team beat the Gauteng team in a tense drop off 5-4 .Even the 5/6 playoff match between Western Cape and Northerns ladies went to a drop off.

The ladies final was an exciting match which went to drop off after a tie during full time. The Natal team had an opportunity to finish the game when they had 4 on 4 on a 2 v 1 which went astray. Western Province ladies thereafter showed great composure to win a low scoring drop off final 3-2

The Mixed Division saw 2 of the dominant mixed sides this millennium again go head to head after dominating the entire competition.

Gauteng who had taken the crown from Western Cape who had previously had 4 cups in a row till 2011. Gauteng had scored the winning try in 2012 after the hooter had gone.

The round robin 1st round was fairly 1 sided between the top two guns. Day 2 and the 2nd round saw tighter contested games with Easterns and Soweto giving improved performances.

In the Final the experienced Gauteng team with lots of World Cup players went up 3-0 early up early on in the game and seemed on route to a second successive title. A change in playing strategy saw Western Cape make it 3-3 soon thereafter. It was a game of two styles where Gauteng playing a solid low error go forward game and Western Cape opting for the more risky business of giving the ball more air. Western Cape's youthful agility took control of the game and in the end won a closely contested exciting final 1-0 to regain the crown they lost in 2012.

In the Men's B division various teams applied various strategies in their selection make up, Some went for youth policy and a team like the eventual winners Boland went for Ex World cup players and loads of experience. The division had 4 teams and was played on a double round basis. Day 2 saw teams like Wild Coast and Western Province put in improved performances. The dominant sides were Boland and Western Cape. Western Cape managed to beat Boland on day 2 which set the perfect scene for day 3. The semi finals were one sided affairs.The final was again a tightly contested affair with Boland using their experience to play Touch at the right parts of the field thus neutralising the potential on Western Capes line attack. Boland were well deserved winner.

We forsee this division to grow year on year and become the breeding ground for the open divisions.

All in all the potential of S.A. Touch is displaying positive signs in playing potential.The challenge is to play more competitions at this level in order to prepare for the World Cup with the intensity that is required.

*Thanks to Labeeb Levy for this story.

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