Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: SA Rugby should prioritise the Currie Cup over the Rugby Championship

SA Rugby should prioritise the Currie Cup over the Rugby Championship

SA Rugby should prioritise the Currie Cup over the Rugby Championship – even if that means the Boks don’t play this year

Image copyright - Steve Haag Sports

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While the South African government has given local franchises the go ahead to return to the playing field, the Springboks may benefit most from steering clear of the Test arena in 2020. Super Rugby competitions in New Zealand and Australia have been ongoing since June and July respectively.

Much has been made of the Kiwi teams’ accuracy and intensity lately, with the country’s players now well and truly up and running after the brief hiatus which followed the halt of Super Rugby proper in March.

They may still be far off their New Zealand counterparts in terms of overall playing quality, but even the Australian sides are back in the groove since Super Rugby AU kicked-off at the beginning of last month.

In stark contrast, South Africa’s players only resumed non-contact training roughly two weeks ago.Local tournament, expected to be in the form of the Currie Cup, is set to commence sometime in September ahead of an anticipated New Zealand-based Rugby Championship in November. The Boks, though, are unlikely to participate without having played at least six domestic games in the build-up.

But would this really provide SA players with enough game time to match the level of their Antipodean rivals?

The common consensus won’t shock you.

Since their World Cup triumph in Yokohama last November, South Africans all over the country have longed to see Siya Kolisi lead out the No 1-ranked side at home. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic has put paid to those plans, with SA Rugby confirming in July that there would be no Tests played in the country this year.

The idea of staging the Rugby Championship solely in New Zealand, where Covid-19 is under strict control and crowds have gathered en masse to watch Aotearoa, could be a cunning way of salvaging what’s left of the Test calendar year. But it also reeks of Kiwi bias.

Rushing back onto the international scene, ill-equipped to deal with the physicality and power of the All Blacks, will play right into their hands and set the Boks back big time. Despite the mediocre standard of Super Rugby AU, even the Wallabies will threaten an undercooked Bok batch.

Aside from a lack of actual match preparation, players will run a massive risk of injury, with coach Jacques Nienaber having already hinted that he would need a squad in excess of 45 players to cope overseas.

With Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Bongi Mbonambi and the like having just recovered from their injury setbacks during lockdown, why chance throwing them to the wolves?

Broadcast demands might yet have a say, but it may be in the national side’s best interests to sit this year out. The British & Irish Lions series in 2021 must be kept in mind and the organisation of a full Currie Cup tournament featuring the Springboks may be the most sensible way for SA Rugby to do that.

Simply put, pragmaticism must prevail.

Written by Shaun Goosen for Hollywoodbets.

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