The Border Bulldogs have been included in the 2019 SuperSport Rugby Challenge less than a month since they were forced to close their doors at their headquarters in East London.
The Border Rugby Union administration was thrown out by the South Africa Rugby Union (Saru) in 2017 before the union had its membership to SA Rugby suspended in October 2018 and placed under the administration of Saru because of it’s dire financial situation.
The downfall of the union can be tracked back to 2014 when SA Rugby was asked to assist in the running of the union. Fast forward five-years and they would be closing the doors of their offices at the Buffalo City Stadium in East London on 1 April 2019.
Since, then the Eastern Cape Department of Sport Recreation, Arts and Culture have provided the union with a bailout of more than R4 million in order to ensure that the union does not disband altogether. The money provided by the department is explicitly for salaries, tournament expenses and other day to day expenses and not to pay pack any of the money owed to Sars by the dysfunctional union.
Their timely save from the Department has meant that the union have managed to secure a spot in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge which will feature 15 teams and the Bulldogs.
This year sees the inclusion of Zimbabwe in the tournament which will be split into two sections.
North: ISG Pumas,Down Touch Griffons, Leopards, Vodacom Blue Bulls, Namibia, Xerox Golden Lions XV, Tafel Lager Griquas and Valke.
South: Toyota Free State XV, Cell C Sharks XV, SWD Eagles, DHL Western Province, Boland, EP Elephants, Border and Zimbabwe.
The ISG Pumas are the reigning champions of the tournament which this year will feature eight festivals from Mdantsane and Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape, Rustenburg in North West to Ravensmead in the Western Cape.
The first round fixtures are:
Friday 26 April:
ISG Pumas v Vodacom Blue Bulls
19h00 @ Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Saturday 27 April:
Boland v EP Elephants
14h00 @ Boland Stadium, Wellington
Tafel Lager Griquas v Valke
14h30 @ Tafel Lager Park, Kimberley
Toyota Free State Cheetahs XV v Cell C Sharks XV
15h00 @ Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein
Down Touch Griffons v Leopards
16h00 @ HT Pelatona Stadium, Welkom
Namibia v Xerox Golden Lions XV
16h00 @ Hage Geingob Stadium, Windhoek
Sunday 28 April (all matches Sisa Dukashe Stadium, Mdantsane):
SWD v DHL Western Province
Border v Zimbabwe Academy