Players cautiously optimistic over Currie Cup’s latest change

Andries Coetzee of the Lions during the Currie Cup Launch at SuperSport Studios on August 14, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)

South Africa’s rugby’s premier domestic tournament, which starts this week, has been watered down due to endless changes to its format.

The embattled Currie Cup, once the crown jewel in the South African rugby calendar, has been changed for the umpteenth time in recent years.

Given a public already weary of an oversupply of rugby and the constant format changes, it’s little wonder the tournament receives limited attention.

In an attempt to spruce up the product, SA Rugby have created a single-round format they hope will be fast, intense and of high quality.

Here’s what some of the players think about the change.

S’BU NKOSI (SHARKS)

No, I don’t have a problem with it. I think it makes it exciting. The format is such a way that two matches in, it already feels like you’re involved in a playoff. Everybody has something to lose if they don’t perform on the day and they can lose it quickly.

I think we’re going to see a lot of high tempo rugby and also have teams that are more focused more immediately. You’ve only got one chance against one team.

ANDRIES COETZEE (LIONS)

Obviously I haven’t experienced it yet but I’m quite excited for it. I think it might actually keep the fans more invested in the competition.

What I mean by that is that it will probably make it easier for them to follow what’s going on. You’re not going to wait until the second round of fixtures for fans to suddenly start wondering how their side is performing. I think it might just be the perfect format.

EW VILJOEN (WESTERN PROVINCE)

I can’t say I favour the format because I haven’t played it yet. But it’s definitely something I’m looking forward to. Can I give an answer at the end of the season? (laughs)

Look, I think it’s exciting and means all the teams will have to be sharp from the outset.

The tournament kicks off on Friday, when the Pumas and Griquas meet in Mbombela before the Cheetahs and Blue Bulls lock horns.

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