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Currie Cup final shows the health of SA Rugby, says Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber

Jacques Nienaber, Springbok coach during the meet the Springboks press conference at Southern Sun Hotel, Pretoria on Thursday. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Jacques Nienaber, Springbok coach during the meet the Springboks press conference at Southern Sun Hotel, Pretoria on Thursday. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Published Jun 23, 2022

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Johannesburg — For the first time in living memory, the "Big Five" — the Bulls, the Cheetahs, Lions, Sharks and Western Province — will not exclusively contest a Currie Cup final.

Instead, the Griquas and Pumas shocked all-and-sundry to book their spots in the final on Saturday at Tafel Lager Park in Kimberley (kick-off 3pm). The surprise Cup final packages, coupled with the recently concluded all-SA URC final between eventual champions the Stormers and runners-up Bulls, nevertheless, speaks to the health of SA rugby currently, according to Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber.

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“I think it is awesome,” said Nienaber in Pretoria on Thursday regarding the Griquas v Pumas clash for silverware. “One did not expect them to contest the final ...

“It shows you the health within SA rugby and how the ‘domestic franchises’ understand their game in terms of the players that they signed within their franchises, (especially) if you look at the monetary value of those two teams who played away semi-finals (Griquas and Pumas) and the monetary value of the teams they played against (the Bulls and Free State Cheetahs, respectively).

“There are a couple of players of national interest in the Pumas squad and there isn’t really one currently at the Griquas; and they made the Currie Cup final,” Nienaber emphasised.

“It shows you the health that a team that doesn’t have a player of national interest is going to play Saturday in a Currie Cup final. It is a feather in the cap of the coaching staff (of the Griquas and the Pumas) and the squads that they have assembled.

“It is brilliant and it is going to be interesting. I think a lot of people will watch it.”

It will be the Pumas' first time contesting for the oldest domestic rugby cup, while their host this weekend, the Griquas, will hope to capture the coveted championship for a fourth time - their first time since 1970.

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@FreemanZAR

IOL Sport

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Griquas RugbyRugby

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