Expect more Covid disruptions in the Currie Cup, which starts next week, said Blue Bulls Chief Executive Officer, Edgar Rathbone.
Following the cancellation of three matches in the Super Rugby Unlocked competition because of Covid-19 protocols, concerns have been raised that more matches will be affected in the Currie Cup which is due to start next weekend.
“I think we’ll definitely see more disruptions in the Currie Cup. It’s unfortunately the times we are living in and we must be realistic and remain on high alert and be responsible,” said Rathbone.
“I have spoken to Eduard (Coetzee, Sharks CEO) and they really wanted to play this weekend, but the safety of the players must come first and the best decision in this regard had to be made,” he said, referring to the cancellation of the match between the Sharks and Stormers.
Earlier, two of the Lions’ matches – against the Cheetahs and the Pumas – were also called off.
The Lions, Pumas and Sharks have been hit the hardest by positive Covid cases, with the Bulls so far able to boast a clean record.
“I guess we have just been lucky,” said Rathbone, who swapped the Lions for the Bulls during the early stages of lockdown.
“Like all the unions, we are tested regularly. It’s important to stay cautious and take the necessary precautions to keep players and staff members healthy,” he said.
The Bulls are set to be crowned Unlocked champions this weekend. Their final outing in the competition, against the Pumas at 2pm on Saturday, will only go ahead once the results of the latest Covid tests in the Pumas camp are known – scheduled to be on Friday.
“We first have to beat the Pumas before we can start celebrating,” said Rathbone very diplomatically. “We have to wait and see what happens, whether the game goes ahead or not.”
The Bulls boss though was full of praise for director of rugby, Jake White, who joined the Pretoria team at the beginning of the year and has turned the Bulls into a rugby powerhouse.
“Jake has established a good work ethic at the union and among the players. They all work hard and have remained grounded; the job is not done.
“It will, however, be great to get some silverware back to Loftus. The last trophy won by the Bulls was 10 years ago now,” said Rathbone.
That was in 2010 when the Bulls captured their third Super Rugby title. The last time they won the Currie Cup was in 2009.