Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Opinion Piece: South African State of Origin?

Opinion Piece: South African State of Origin?


Darry Worthington asks the question of whether South Africa should play a coastal versus central game this year.

Corona Virus is wreaking havoc on rugby budgets throughout the world with clubs, unions, and franchises bleeding insane some of the money on a day to day basis.

Image copyright - Steve Haag Sports

With international travel still months away, internal solutions need to be found to put money back into the game. One idea that has been touted in New Zealand is reigniting the old North Versus South Island derby. This could be a massive money-spinner for the NZRU as the game would attract a hell of a lot of fan interest. SARU should also at least take a look into coming up with a similar sort of blockbuster game as it would be beneficial for numerous reasons.

We'll take a look at how this game could be possibly structured and why it would be so beneficial to South African rugby.

Structure and Selection Criteria
This would be a one-off game between two 23 men squads which could be used as a fundraiser for a charitable cause which is combatting COVID-19.

While New Zealand format sees players from the North Island take on players from the South - the idea is still being bandied about so they actually haven't worked out how players would be selected and there's strong debate over whether you should represent the island you were born on or whether it should be the island you currently live - it's a bit more complicated with South Africa's geography.

The easiest way would probably be to play a coastal versus central game, with players from Kwa-Zulu Natal, the Eastern Cape and Western Cape representing the coastal side and the central side being represented by the remaining provinces.

Again, like in New Zealand, this leaves room for debate. Does the player represent the side based on which province he was born in? Does he represent the side based on the current province he's plying his trade in? Or does he represent the side he made his provincial debut in? I think the sensible route would be to go with the side they made their first Currie Cup debut for. This would make it really interesting as you could have the likes of Francois Steyn and Ruan Pienaar turning out for the Coastal side while Ox Nche, James Venter and Madosh Tambwe turning out for the Central side.

This idea gets a whole new dynamic if the European domestic rugby seasons get cancelled and overseas South Africans return home for a bit of game time.

Benefits
Let's face it, Super Rugby was a dead horse being flogged to bits. Rugby fans are craving something new, and while there have been Springbok trials games that followed a similar sort of format - the old Possibles versus Probibles games - the last of these was played back in the early 2000s.

This would also give the Springbok selectors a great chance to look at some of the emerging talent coming through the ranks. I mean you could even fit in an Under 23 Central versus Coastal game as the curtain-raiser.

The game could also be used to cap off the proposed domestic tournament that is set to replace the remainder of the Super Rugby season.

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