CAPE TOWN – While former Springbok wing Bryan Habana believes getting the strength of the Currie Cup back is going to be no easy task, he says SA Rugby will need to take both the commercial aspect and player welfare into account when deciding on the way forward.
As part of his weekly fundraiser interview for the Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players’ Fund, Dr Dean Allen engaged the former Stormers and Bulls flyer on a number of matters.
With uncertainty regarding the future of South African rugby all round due to the pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions as well as the pre-Covid-19 talks over whether SA should ditch Sanzaar and look north, one of the questions Habana was presented with was focused on the Currie Cup competition and how it could be revived.
“It comes down to timing, potentially,” he said. “To get your top players playing in the Currie Cup and making it more valuable is a thing, but I think the reason why we’ve seen the watering down of the Currie Cup in the last 10 or 15 years is because teams play each other four or five times a year now…you sort of get weaned off of the fierce competitiveness.
“Should we do the Currie Cup all on our own? I’d probably say no. I think the uncertainty of rugby, especially with it being a contact sport, and the timing of the different nations around the world due to the pandemic makes it difficult to say how and where we can start.
“In my opinion, we’ve seen fairly mixed reviews about the Cheetahs and the Kings playing in the northern hemisphere in December and January and vice versa and if we should go from that to Currie Cup and have a year-long competition. I think the strength of the Currie Cup is going to be something that’s going to be really hard to get back, but I think the powers that be need to take player welfare as well as the commercial aspect into consideration.”
Habana also said he’s keen to learn more about how a global season would be structured and how SA would fit into the tournament.
“I’ve been asked the question about South Africa going North a few times this week, and now I see headlines saying ‘Bryan supports a global season’, but I didn’t use those exact words. I would love to see how dynamics and mechanisms of how a global season would work and where South Africa would even fit in. Who do you take out of the Premiership, Champions Cup or PRO14, or do you extend the Six Nations?”
In a series of interviews, Dr Allen will chat with stars of SA rugby each week in support of The Players’ Fund charity.