When the South African rugby season restarts in the near future, Manie Libbok will find himself not in the colours of the Bulls, but rather the Sharks. Picture: BackpagePix
When the South African rugby season restarts in the near future, Manie Libbok will find himself not in the colours of the Bulls, but rather the Sharks. Picture: BackpagePix

Currie Cup final in December?

By Mike Greenaway Time of article published Jun 30, 2020

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DURBAN - South Africa’s rugby players could be back in training next Monday and playing matches by early August in an expanded Currie Cup that will culminate in a final somewhere around December 12.

Those are the “ball park” dates on the table as administrators continue discussions with government.

Sharks chief executive officer Eduard Coetzee yesterday said that while “nobody can be 100 percent sure of anything”, the government is doing its best to help rugby resume.

“The government is trying to find a way for us ... they have been really positive,” Coetzee said.

“If it comes together, we are looking at a very exciting, expanded Currie Cup-type competition which will be strength versus strength and have our Springboks in action.”

South Africa’s answer to the New Zealand Aotearoa competition and Super Rugby Australia will go further than the four Super Rugby teams by including the Kings and Cheetahs as well as Griquas and the Pumas.

“Our turn to play again will come,” Coetzee said after admitting frustration at watching the NZ teams go at each over the last three weeks.

“There is a bigger picture for us ... all the stake-holders are on the same page and we will get on the field, even if it means playing in a 'bio bubble' (with no fans).”



There have been suggestions that the competition and its teams will be based in a location far away from the country’s Covid-19 hotspots - a location such as Nelspruit, Potchefstroom or Kimberley.

In the meantime, South Africa’s players have been doing their best to be rugby ready for when the game resumes.

Speaking of the Sharks, Coetzee said: “We have spent the last two weeks fitness testing the boys and I am pleased to report that they are in really good shape; most are on the same levels of fitness they were before Super Rugby was halted and a few are even fitter.

"Huge credit must be given to the conditioning staff for how they have worked with the players in lockdown, and to the players themselves... They have been really professional.”

During the “transfer window”, when players were allowed to move on as part of a cost-cutting measure implemented by SA Rugby, the Sharks lost just three players in Louis Schreuder, Tyler Paul and Jean Schoeman. This was offset by the gain of Bulls flyhalf Manie Libbock and Sevens star Werner Kok, who flies into Durban today from Cape Town.

Coetzee says he's thrilled that the squad has largely remained intact.

“If this was a year ago, when the players were so unhappy, we would have lost all of them - a lot of them had really good offers - so credit must go to the coaching staff for creating an environment in which the players wanted to stay.

“And hopefully in the next few weeks we will be able to announce contract extensions that will make fans and sponsors very happy.”


IOL Sport

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