A proposal has been sent out to the country’s franchises by SA Rugby, and players will begin working towards this in earnest once they have passed Covid-19 tests.
DURBAN – At long last South African rugby knows where it stands, and that is a double-round Currie Cup that will kick-off on October 3 and stretch across the summer until a final on January 16.
This is the proposal that has been sent out to the country’s franchises by SA Rugby, and players will begin working towards this in earnest once they have passed Covid-19 tests.
All players and management across the country underwent testing on Monday, they expect their results on Tuesday, and on Wednesday can begin full contact training sessions.
Sharks coach Sean Everitt says the eight unions that will contest the Currie Cup are allowed to have a friendly match a week before the Currie Cup kicks off.
“We are confident we have enough time to be ready to play matches,” he said. “We have done so much preparation already, albeit within the constraints of not taking contact, and now it will be a case of gradually hardening the guys up to play.”
It is five months since the country’s players saw action — rugby went into lockdown after the Sharks hosted the Stormers in Durban on March 14 — so they will need to be carefully managed over the next month so that they go into match situations without undue fear of injury.
“We will stagger the contact load until the guys are ready to get fully stuck in,” Everitt said. “But we will be ready. Ideally, you need a minimum of three weeks to get ready to play and we have a month.”
A Currie Cup running for over three months takes the game well into the new year, and what is then in store for South African rugby is unknown, but there is a lot of educated guessing that at least four of our teams will swell the current Pro 14 in Europe into a Pro 16 (The Cheetahs and Kings have been participating in the competition until now).
Club owners in Europe involved in the Pro 14 have been talking as if it is a done deal that the South African representation will double, while there have been reports that SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux is in advanced talks with Pro 14 CEO Martin Anayi.
The only issue is that the Pro 14 organisers don’t want more than four SA teams, and South Africa is sitting with five: Super Rugby’s Stormers, Sharks, Lions and Bulls, plus the Cheetahs — the Kings, South Africa’s second Pro 14 side, has closed down operations.
The Free Staters have reportedly suggested the top four finishers in the Currie Cup qualify for the Pro 14 and that suggestion is apparently on the table in the SA Rugby boardroom.