Currie Cup game between Lions and Cheetahs called off
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JOHANNESBURG – The Currie Cup encounter between the Sigma Lions and Free State Cheetahs has been called off, Lions Rugby Company CEO Rudolf Straeuli announced on Thursday.
The match was scheduled to be played on Saturday at Emirates Airline Park, but due to the civil unrest in Johannesburg, the Cheetahs have opted not to travel to Gauteng to play the game.
"We, at a late stage, heard that the game has been cancelled," said Straeuli at what was supposed to be the Lions' announcement on Thursday afternoon. "We apologise for the inconvenience, it was half-an-hour ago that the game was cancelled due to the non-travelling from the Cheetahs at the moment.
"They feel it is not safe to travel."
Despite the mass looting and rioting that has crippled a handful of areas in and around Johannesburg, Straeuli assured the participating media that the players and staff at the union in Doornfontein were safe, and continuing their duties.
Said Straeuli: "We are, obviously, in difficult times and this decision has not been taken lightly.
"We want to play and fulfil our obligations," the former Springbok continued. "We were willing to travel to Bloemfontein to play the fixture there. The problem is that there is uncertainty for certain teams and in certain areas but we are quite safe at the moment at Emirates Airline Park.
"We are training. We are fortunate to have a partner like Fidelity on board. I can say without any interruption, all our players, coaches and staff have been at training and work.
"It is a difficult time," he reiterated.
As stated by Straeuli, the Joburgeres were prepared to travel to the Free State capital to honour the fixture, but that motion was declined by the Bloem-based union, who decided not to back-track on their resolution, as promised to their players.
A ruling on the result and log points will be made at a later stage by SA Rugby.
On Wednesday, the match between the Sharks and Pumas in Durban, also scheduled for this weekend, was cancelled as well, with the score mandated as a 0-0 result. Both the Sharks and Pumas were awarded four log points, as were the Bulls and Griquas, whose match was cancelled due to the Pretoria-based side roped into the preparation plans of the Springboks this weekend.
Furthermore, the Women’s First Division final, between the Lions and the Free State, also scheduled for Emirates Airline Park, has been postponed. A new date will be communicated in due course.