Rugby in SA heading towards Covid-19 crisis
DURBAN - South African rugby is approaching a crisis following the cancellation of Western Province’s hosting of a final round Currie Cup match against the Sharks at Newlands on Saturday.
Just over a week before the semi-finals are due to take place, the Sharks have been hit by multiple positive Covid-19 cases, and it is also reliably learned that the Cape Town team has registered new cases.
Frankly, it is difficult to imagine that the Sharks and Province will be in a position to play semi-final matches next week given that Saturday’s match could not take place, plus let’s take into account the backdrop of rising cases across SA.
It is known that the Sharks have positive cases well into double figures, and with affected players needing at least 14 days in isolation, how much can change for the Durban team in the space of a week?
If anything, their situation could get worse ...
SA Rugby has officially declared the match a draw and the teams will each receive two log points.
The other two Currie Cup matches scheduled for this weekend – between Griquas and the Free State Cheetahs in Kimberley on Saturday, and the Pumas against the Blue Bulls in Nelspruit on Sunday – are unaffected, at this point.
The cancellation of the Newlands encounter means WP – currently in second place on the standings with 35 points behind the Bulls who also have 35 points, but boast a superior points difference – will finish the pool stage of the competition on 37 points, and the Sharks will move up to third place on 35 points.
The two coastal teams had to wait for the conclusion of last night’s trans-Jukskei derby between the Bulls and Lions in Pretoria, and the final two round-robin games this weekend, to see who they will face in the semis, and where these matches will be hosted.
If the Currie Cup cannot proceed beyond this weekend it will add depressing fuel to the fire of speculation that July’s British & Irish Lions tour to SA is in mortal danger …
The Sharks’ match against the Stormers in October was also called off because of Covid-19 issues, so this latest development will be a desperate disappointment for both teams.