Currie Cup may be the key

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Harold Verster after the Toyota Free State Cheetahs beat the Golden Lions 31-28 in Bloemfontein to win the 2019 Currie Cup. PHOTO: NICOLETTE TALJAARD

The Toyota Cheetahs are confident that there is light at the end of the tunnel for them regarding their future in the Guinness PRO14.

The global Covid-19 pandemic has been the cause of a lot of uncertainty in the sport worldwide and this ranges from the international rugby calendar, to Super Rugby, to PRO Rugby.

If the South African teams are withdrawn from the Super Rugby, the four franchises may head north at the expense of the Cheetahs and Southern Kings.

Managing Director of the Free State Cheetahs, Harold Verster, told Bloemfontein Courant they have support from up north but the answers lie within South Africa and that the Currie Cup may be the solution.

“I must say that the Cheetahs are very popular among those PRO14 teams up north, and the CEO, Martin Anayi, and the directors are very, very supportive and they want us there.

“Unfortunately it’s not their call, it’s SA Rugby who will decide who they send north if there will only be four teams.

“We are confident because we’ve got a deal until May 2022, so we might have to hang on to that. We think that we can find and amicable solution for South African rugby, but look, Super Rugby is not dead yet. There’s also a possibility for Super Rugby, PRO Rugby and a combination of all of these competitions.

“We have proposed two options for SA Rugby where we deal with the PRO Rugby in a way and then also with Super Rugby. But we as the Free State feel that a strong Currie Cup with eight teams playing home-and-away will recreate the enthusiasm among the supporters.

“From that the winners will move north and so on.

“The Covid pandemic is a problem, but we are dealing with that. Then we hope to hose the Currie Cup in Bloemfontein in the bio-bubble and we hope that we can get that.”

Verster also echoed an earlier statement by the SA Rugby CEO, Jurie Roux, that South African teams may indeed only been seen at international competitions as of 2022.
At this stage, SA Rugby has marked the last weekend of August on the calendar as the kick-off date for the 2020 Currie Cup. If it is not possible, the first two weekends on September have also been set aside. – MORGAN PIEK