Fri, 26 Feb 2021

  • SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus says the Currie Cup final will take place, even after its scheduled date.
  • This is to ensure that players get a three-week off-season.
  • Erasmus has also defended the integrity of the domestic tournaments.

SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus said the Currie Cup final scheduled for 30 January will take place, even if not on the scheduled date.

Erasmus said this was to make sure there is a three-week off-season period for the players before they prepare for the Rainbow Cup.

"The final will be played, even if it's not played on January 30. It's only two teams that are involved there because with the semi-finals, there are more teams and the roll-on effect will be different. If the final can't be played on the Saturday, it will be moved to the Sunday or the Monday," Erasmus said.

"We will play a Currie Cup final. The players need to have a three-week off-season and for the teams to be ready for the PRO16, which is the Rainbow Cup as an interim competition going into the PRO16."

Erasmus also said the four teams taking part in this weekend's Currie Cup playoffs have until 12:00 on Thursday to submit their match-day line-ups.

This is to ensure the teams are on the same page from a Covid-19 perspective because of the postponement of the playoffs.

This weekend's semi-finals where the Bulls will be hosting the Lions at Loftus Versfeld and the Sharks away to Western Province at Newlands, were supposed to take place on 16 January.

"The teams that can't participate this weekend will not be able to go to the final because we've moved the playoffs by a week already. The knock-on effect that'll have on our season will be tremendous. If both teams can't play, the team with most league points will go through. We want teams to submit at the same time to avoid the pointing of fingers," Erasmus said.

Erasmus also said the integrity of South Africa's domestic tournaments remains intact even though questions were raised with match cancellations because of Covid-19 issues.

Erasmus said the double-round nature of the tournaments (Currie Cup and Super Rugby Unlocked), allowed the best team to rise to the top while also making sure that every team had a home and away game.

"If you had a Super Rugby Unlocked of just six games and one game was cancelled because of Covid-19, it would have a massive impact. If the Currie Cup was only six games and if any game got cancelled, it's two points each, so it would have a massive impact, which makes me get why there's a narrative of the competition's integrity being questioned. The carrying over of the points was to ensure that the teams get the best chance of getting to the playoffs," Erasmus said.

"We tried to protect the integrity of the tournaments even though we had a certain cut-off date for the Super Rugby tournament. The tournament was a double-round, home and away, so no team could complain. For the first time since 2005, we had all the local Springboks available. We didn't tell any franchise how many minutes players of national interest should play because of a lack of a target date for Test matches."

Erasmus also said the domestic tournaments weren't as badly affected by Covid-19 stoppages as compared to the European events.

"During the whole season, out of an average squad of 15, there were eight percent positive tests, which is about four players weekly. That was during a quiet time. At the peak, it went up to 20 percent, which was about 10 players per team. Out of 44, there were five cancelled games, which isn't a lot," Erasmus said.

"In the (English) Premiership, if you didn't have enough players, they gave the opposition the five league points and 28 points. That was a massive thing, but they have adjusted that."

Source: News24

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