Play Rugby in South Africa
The home of the Springboks and three times world champions South Africa is an incredible country to visit yet alone stay and play rugby. Your gateway to discovering the awe-inspiring African wildlife. Learn from some of the best players and coaches in the world.
There are 14 provincial unions within South Africa. Each one of these unions administers a senior professional team that competes in the Currie Cup and Rugby Challenge which are the top two domestic leagues in South Africa. The Gold Cup is the premier club competition, teams are divided into four pools, each containing five teams. Outside of these competitions, each region is responsible for amateur club rugby in their area.
Below you will find more information on some of the more popular regions to play rugby in South Africa.
Blue Bulls Rugby is centred on the city of Pretoria in the north of South Africa. The region shares borders with Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique making it a fantastic starting point for exploring Africa. South Africa’s administrative centre is a charming city home to a number of significant historical sites, such as the Voortrekker Monument. It is slightly more conservative and less cosmopolitan than other South African cities. The Bulls serve as the elite team in Pretoria playing in the Super Rugby franchise and national competitions. Outside of this there are over 50 clubs to choose from in the Blue Bulls Region.
Representing the Western Cape, Cape Winelands and Western Coast, Boland Rugby is located on the south western coast of South Africa. The union has over 100 clubs and is represented in the Currie Cup by the Boland Cavaliers. Located in the same province as Cape Town it is a popular destination. Other major cities include Stellenbosch, Worcester, Paarl and George. All of which are located along the famous Garden Route, a 300km stretch of coastline, home to the best wine in South Africa. The mild winter climate is the perfect temperature to play rugby in.
Port Elizabeth or Nelson Mandela Bay commonly shortened to its initials PE is the home of Eastern Province Rugby. They are represented at the top level by the Southern Kings franchise in the Pro 14. In the community around 80 teams compete in this area, so lots of potential new clubs here. Located on the western end of the Sunshine Coast, the beaches are beautiful to relax on and in the water you will find great surf spots. The marine life in the bay is out of this world, dolphins and whales can be spotted all year round. Urban regeneration projects in the city centre have transformed it from a place to avoid into a bustling urban hub.
Poetically known as the city of roses, the capital of the province of Free State is Bloemfontein. It is one of the country’s three capital cities and serves as the judicial capital of South Africa. The union is represented by the Cheetahs in the Pro 14 and has over 10 other teams to play for. ‘Bloem’ has more of a village feel for a capital and is one of South Africa’s most relaxed and welcoming cities.
South Africa’s largest city, Johannesburg or Jo’burg is one of the country’s leading cultural hubs. Transformed from a dangerous city of decline and decay to a truly world class city. Discover the Soweto township which was once home to Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. The friendly locals at the approximately 20 teams here will be stoked to have you. You can also check out the Golden Lions in Super Rugby whilst you’re there.
The 2010 World Cup provided the city of Durban with a major makeover and is becoming a must see spot in South Africa. Durban’s Golden Mile is a 3.7 mile stretch of pristine sandy beach perfect for surfers and swimmers to enjoy the Indian Ocean. There is a real Indian feel here, more Indians reside here than any other country outside India itself. For more culture take in a Zulu experience to learn more about the culture of South Africa’s largest ethnic group. There are over 50 clubs here including the Sharks that play in Super Rugby.
Crowned by the incomparable table mountain, Cape Town is a city like no other. If you decide to live here, follow the lead of the affable locals. Take full advantage of the plentiful outdoor space whether that be in the water surfing or in the mountains hiking. Cape Town also possesses a cool urban edge with trendy bars and high class restaurants. Make your new club one of the over 100 located in the province. Be sure to catch a Stormers game at the famous Newlands ground.
What are you waiting for?
Are you ready to unearth all that South Africa has to give and witness the big five for yourself? Decide where you want to live and play your rugby in South Africa. Then follow this guide for your next steps to playing rugby overseas.
Full list of South African rugby unions:
|Blue Bulls Rugby Union||Pretoria|
|Boland Rugby Union||Wellington|
|Border Rugby Football Union||East London|
|Eastern Province Rugby Union||Port Elizabeth|
|Free State Rugby Union||Bloemfontein|
|Golden Lions Rugby Union||Johannesburg|
|Griffons Rugby Union||Welkom|
|Griqualand West Rugby Union||Kimberley|
|KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union||Durban|
|Leopards Rugby Football Union||Potchefstroom|
|Mpumalanga Rugby Union||Nelspruit|
|South Western Districts RFU||George|
|Valke Rugby Union||Kempton Park|
|Western Province Rugby Union||Cape Town|