Rugby is back! Bok Showdown to kick-start local season next month
DURBAN - South African rugby will reignite in novel fashion when a “Superfan Saturday" double-header on September 26 is followed a week later by an old-style “school yard pick” match featuring 60 of the country’s best players.
For the latter match at Newlands on October 3, Springbok assistant coaches Mzwandile Stick and Deon Davids will coach Springbok Green versus Gold teams, with Rassie Erasmus (Director of Rugby) and Jacques Nienaber (Springbok coach) acting as the two Team Commissioners.
The selection process will take the form of a draft pick from an enlarged squad of 60 players with Green and Gold team bosses taking alternate turns to pick their match-day squads of 25 players each.
The selection drama will unfold live on SuperSport, with the enlarged squad set to be announced live on Saturday before the crucial draft pick next week.
“This will not only be an opportunity to see the best available in South Africa square off against each other in something never seen before, but it will also provide the players with another valuable opportunity to shake of the rust and get the legs and lungs going after not playing any rugby in the last six months,” said Erasmus.
“The players will be encouraged to showcase their skills – individually and in their teams – and while it will be full-on, we’re expecting to see a highly competitive match between two sets of quality players.
To kick things off though, the rugby season will resume a week on Saturday at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria when the Bulls take on the Sharks and the Lions battle the Stormers on “Super Fan Saturday.”
These matches will be followed by the Springbok Showdown at Newlands, after which a double round local competition – between seven franchises — kicks off on the weekend of 10 October.
In what is another first for South African rugby, the local competition will continue over Christmas and New Year and will culminate in semi-finals (16 January) and a final on 23 January next year.
“This is a very exciting plan for the next few months, considering all the challenges we’ve faced this year due to the Covid-19 pandemi,c and it will be great to see our best local rugby heroes battle it out from October to January,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.
“Unfortunately, spectators won’t be allowed inside the stadiums as we are still working with certain Covid-19 regulations.”