Revealed: South African rugby’s new ‘unlocked’ local look

The Cheetahs will defend the Currie Cup they won last year. Picture: Getty Images

South Africa’s top players will be back in action from next week and feature in new domestic competitions – Super Rugby Unlocked and the Currie Cup

SA Rugby confirmed on Friday the way ahead for two local competitions to start next month with both Super Rugby and Currie Cup honours up for grabs.

South Africa’s seven franchises will battle it out for Super Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup honours when the domestic season resumes next month.

“Depending on our participation in the Rugby Championship, we’ll see our top local Springboks in action in the coming weeks and months,” said SA Rugby Chief Executive Jurie Roux.

Following the Super Fan Saturday matches in Pretoria next week and the Springbok Showdown in Cape Town (3 October), the seven provincial teams will head into a double round of local action over 16 weekends.

The first round of matches – from 10 October to 21 November – will be for “Super Rugby Unlocked” honours, with the winner coming from the Bulls, Sharks, Lions, Stormers, Cheetahs, Griquas or Pumas, depending who has the most log points.

All log points will then be carried forward into the second round – the Currie Cup from 28 November to 9 January 2021 – which will culminate in semi-finals (16 January) and a final on 23 January next year.

Further details and the full fixture list will be announced in the coming days. The Free State Cheetahs will defend the crown they won in 2019 against the Lions.

Roux said SA Rugby were very grateful for the excellent cooperation they’d had from their sponsors, broadcast partner, the unions and other stakeholders to get to a point where they can actually start looking forward to actual rugby matches on weekends again.

“The impact of the pandemic on the season has been extraordinary and we have had to come up with an extraordinary solution to be able to complete the Super Rugby season and contest the Currie Cup. We believe that this is the best solution for everyone involved.

“All the teams will face each other home and away, and will enjoy two byes during the four months we believe will deliver top-class local rugby and unearth the next generation of stars for South African rugby.”

SA Rugby also announced a five-team Provincial Under-21 competition between the Blue Bulls, Free State, Golden Lions, Sharks and Western Province.

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