Editorials 2.9.2017 05:45 am

Don’t kill the Currie Cup

Akker van der Merwe and the Sharks are looking good in the Currie Cup. Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images.

Akker van der Merwe and the Sharks are looking good in the Currie Cup. Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images.

Attendances at the tournament matches this season are poor.

There’s a growing feeling that the Currie Cup is slowly, but surely losing its charm.

The Currie Cup is steeped in rich history: the oldest provincial rugby competition dates back to 1889.

Is there just too much rugby on the go? Attendances at Currie Cup matches this season are poor, while many players that plied their trade in the Super Rugby competition are either on international duty or have left for overseas to honour club commitments.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing as it gives youngsters an opportunity to shine, but the competition does lose some of its big-name firepower.

Exactly how strong the competition really is, will be tested over the next few weeks. The Cheetahs, the defending champions, will effectively field a C team today.

The men from Bloemfontein have enjoyed a wonderful start to their title defence, winning five out of six matches ahead of today’s top-ofthe-table clash against the Sharks, who have also won five from six matches. The reason for the Cheetahs fielding a weakened side?

This week they took their strongest squad of 28 players to face Ulster in Belfast in the Pro14 competition, after they had to come up with a new plan following the decision to dump them, the Kings and Rebels from Super Rugby.

Rugby authorities need to find a way to balance the demanding schedule, and the local competition. The Currie Cup deserves better.

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