The Bloemfontein based side are the current reigning Currie Cup Champions from South Africa having put on some stunning displays in 2016 maintaining a 100% record in the Division log, and then defeating the Lions 55-17 in the Semi Finals, and the Blue Bulls 36-16 in the Final.
It was their 5th title.
The Cheetahs are a very well supported team across the Free State, as well as having large fans bases in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria. They are also known as the darlings of South African rugby, with many other South African rugby fans adopting them as their second team especially when they take on any of the other “Big 5” teams.
The Cheetahs have been a mainstay in Super Rugby since 2006 and had many great Springboks wearing the famous orange jersey with the likes of Os du Randt, Andre Venter, Brendan Venter, Heinrich Brussow. Wille Le Roux, and recent Boks captain Adriaan Strauss.
Harlequins have a rich heritage in rugby in this country and abroad. For almost a century and a half the club has contributed generously to the development of the game both on and off the pitch. On the pitch Harlequins’ players have performed with distinction not just for England but also for other nations; in the process bringing honour on themselves and the club.
The club has a reputation for producing and attracting players who have been innovators, for example, Ronnie Poulton-Palmer, Adrian Stoop and William Wavell Wakefield in the first quarter of the 20th Century. Between them they contributed to the club being associated with an attractive style of rugby.
Their legacy continues to the present – over a century later the current generation of players are taking that style to new levels. Off the pitch the club has also made a notable contribution to the governance of the game through the Rugby Football Union. Harlequins has already provided eleven Presidents of the RFU, a tradition that is set to continue with 2003 Rugby World Cup winner and former Harlequins prop forward Jason Leonard taking over as President of the Union later this year.
The club’s influence extends beyond this country via a network of affiliate clubs around the world. They include Harlequins Pretoria, Kenya Harlequins, Harlequins Melbourne and Dallas Harlequins among others. These clubs have added to Harlequins heritage not just through name association but also through their adoption of the club’s style of play.
2016/2017 Season sees Harlequins celebrate its 150th anniversary.
From humble beginnings, ‘Sarries’ have developed into one of world rugby’s most respected, renowned and recognizable teams.
On the pitch, the North London club are enjoying a period of unbridled success. In 2014/15 they were winners of six domestic trophies, across both the men and women’s competitions and in 2015/16 the team made club history by becoming the first English club since 2004 to win the European and Premiership double.
Off the pitch Saracens have won numerous awards for their community work and the Saracens Sport Foundation continues to engage with communities in and around North London and Hertfordshire on a daily basis.
In January 2013, Saracens opened Allianz Park – the long awaited new home of the Men in Black positioned in beautiful green surroundings in NW4, North London. The state of the art stadium, designed and built to blend seamlessly into its stunning environment, is the only stadium in the country designed and built to BREEAM Excellent standards.
On the field, Saracens would break new ground once again with the club using the world’s first artificial turf pitch for professional rugby club.
In February 2009 a South African consortium led by businessman Johann Rupert bought the Club.
Former Springbok, Brendan Venter, took over from outgoing director of rugby from Eddie Jones and would begin a transition at the club that would see Saracens become England’s premier side.
After a tumultuous summer where 15 players would be replaced, Venter alongside Ulsterman Mark McCall, would implement a new culture at the club with a long-term strategy to become English rugby’s finest club, on and off the pitch.
Following the successes of the 2014/15 season Saracens went on to do one better in 2015/16 by securing their first ever European Cup, beating Racing 92 in Lyon. It was an impressive achievement for Saracens who also became the first side to win the European Cup without losing a game. Two weeks later, and after defeating Leicester Tigers in the semi final, Saracens were able to defend their Aviva Premiership title at Twickenham as they overcame Exeter Chiefs. The victory meant that Saracens became the first English club since 2004 to win a European and Domestic double.
The “APDs” will change its regular name of the Asia Pacific Dragons to the AFRICA PACIFIC DRAGONS for the Tournament again.
This is in recognition to showcase some talent from Africa, such as Kenyan 7s speedster Billy Odhaimbo in 2016.
But the change of name will not alter the APDs approach and unique Pacific style of rugby.
The APDs (as they have become known by the players), was founded in 2011 as the dream team combination of players from the Pacific Islands (and with heritage), and players from Asia.
The team has achieved significant success brushing aside some major competitions. Having defeated Saracens in Hong Kong for the Chartis Cup, they won the Cup competition of the HK10s in 2012, 2014 and 2015.
They also Won the Singapore 7s Cup in 2014. They came 3rd in the in the Inaugural World Club 10s in Singapore, and 5th in 2016 in Mauritius.
Some of the greatest names in Pacific Islands rugby have been part of the APD Family, including former All Blacks, Tana Umaga, Justin Marshall, Carl Hayman, Christian Cullen, Jimmy Cowen, Steve Brett, Jerry Collins, Rico Gear and Isaac Ross; Australians George Smith, George Gregan and Radike Samo; Fijian superstars Rupeni Caucaunibuca, Sireli Bobo, Seru Rabeni, Osea Kolinisau (7s Olympic Gold captain); Samoan stars Alesana Tuilagi, Seilala Mapusua and Tusi Pisi; and Tongan RWC stars Nili Latu and Hale T-Pole.
The Pyrenees Rugby Seven was founded in 2003, as a group of players assembled to play the Dubai 7s. The first squad was predominantly players from the South West region of France.
From 2006 the Club expanded its event roster competing in Rome, Hong Kong and Singapore, and since the early days there have now been over 500 players who have represented the PR7 jersey, coming from Clubs all across France.
The club is also committed to social projects, fielding mentally handicapped players in the Dubai event, giving equipment to local amateur clubs and supporting charity organizations.
The Squad for the World Club 10s will be captained by French International Legend, Imanol Harinoroduy, and will feature top class players from Top14 Clubs.