Currie Cup set for South American flavour

Martin Landajo and Niell Jordaan and Lood de Jager. PHOTO: GALLO

The Currie Cup could be in for some international flavour next year with the addition of a team from Argentina.

For years not the world’s oldest domestic rugby competition has taken the back seat to the Super Rugby and to a certain extent, the Varsity Cup, which also draws bigger and more consistent crowds.

In 2018 the Premier Division was reduced to a single round event, which leaves little room for the teams to have an off day on the park.

As it is, the Toyota Free State Cheetahs and the Tafel Lager Griquas are under some pressure to win their five remaining games in order to reach the playoffs. Both teams lost their opening round games.

In 2016 the Super Rugby saw the addition of the Jaguares of Argentina and the Sunwolves of Japan as they expanded from 15 to 18 teams.

While the Sunwolves haven’t impressed at all over the past three seasons, the Argentines punched well above their weigh, and non-more so than this year when they managed six wins on the road, and this includes four back-to-back victories in Australia and in New Zealand.

It is believed that the Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) will be making a major announcement in the coming weeks, and it may very well be the addition of a team from South America to the Currie Cup.

A well-informed contact in Buenos Aires informed Courant that a team from South America’s second largest country is set to play in the Rainbow Nation.

“There have been talks of this, and the president of the UAR, Marcelo Rodríguez, promised that that big news was coming in the next few weeks, so maybe this is what it could be about.

“Apart from the Jaguares, we have a lot of players that play for the Argentina XV but don’t have a regular competition, so it would be nice.

“If not, many of them will be leaving to Europe soon.

“I called an UAR member, and he informed me that South Africa has already accepted Argentinian team in Currie Cup.

“As it is the UAR are in negotiations with sponsors to define if they can afford it, but surely they will.”

An Argentine side playing in South Africa is not a new concept at all, as it has been done in the past, and to great success.

In 2010 the Vodacom Cup introduced an Argentine side, the Pampas, for the first time. A year later they won the tournament. Sadly two years later, they competed in the tournament for the last time.

At this stage, there has been no word confirmation from SA Rugby on the matter. – MORGAN PIEK