Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
NZ NZ

Discarded Cheetahs' European dreams dashed

By Rugby365
A dejected Rhyno Smith of Toyota Cheetahs (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The Cheetahs’ aspiration of returning to Europe has come to an abrupt end. Following their exclusion from the European-based PRO14 (now the United Rugby Championship) by SA Rugby in 2020, Cheetahs were hopeful that they can get entry into the European Challange Cup.

ADVERTISEMENT

In August Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie told rugby365.com that the side’s spot in the Challange Cup is pending. The ‘provisional’ fixtures had the Cheetahs down to play French giants Toulon and the Newport-based Welsh franchise the Dragons on December 11 and 18.

However, with EPCR confirming the fixtures on Thursday, the South African side are clearly absent despite the modification to the competition.

Video Spacer

A Clockwork Orange, Islander remedies and Jonny Hill | RugbyPass Offload | Episode 4

Video Spacer

A Clockwork Orange, Islander remedies and Jonny Hill | RugbyPass Offload | Episode 4

Last year Cheetahs MD Harold Verster told RugbyPass that he felt they had been thrown under the bus by SA Rugby.

“When we joined the PRO14, SARU said they appreciated our solution to being left out of Super Rugby, they called it an ‘elegant settlement’ and said in their report that it would be wonderful for South African rugby. Now they are throwing us out of the bus. It is so unfair. It is really, really frustrating. We are very unhappy with our situation.”

Cheetahs
Harold Vorster

With the PRO14/URC gone by the wayside, having the door closed on the European Challenge Cup is less than ideal for the franchise who finished fourth out of seven in the 2019/20 PRO14 Conference A table.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Challenge Cup is scheduled to get underway on December 11.

A modified Challenge Cup format will see 15 clubs competing in three pools over five pool stage rounds with Saracens marking their return to European competition with a Round 1 match in Pool C against Edinburgh Rugby at the StoneX Stadium on Saturday, December 11.

The 2012 winners, Biarritz Olympique, are also back in Europe after an absence of seven years and their opening Pool A tie on Saturday, December 11 sees them up against Zebre Rugby Club at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi while three-time finalists, RC Toulon, start out in Round 2 at Stade Félix Mayol also against Zebre on Friday, December 17.

Clubs will only play against opponents from their own pool, and one club in each pool will have a bye during each round. The exact dates and kick-off times for the Round 5 fixtures on 8/9/10 April 2022 will be announced later in the season.

The three highest-ranked clubs from each pool, and the highest-ranked fourth-placed club, as well as six Heineken Champions Cup clubs, will qualify for the Round of 16 which will be played on the weekend of 15/16/17 April 2022, followed by quarter-finals and semi-finals, with the final at the Stade Vélodrome, Marseille on 27 May 2022.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Join free

LIVE

{{item.title}}

Trending on RugbyPass

Comments

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free
ADVERTISEMENT

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

S
Shaylen 2 hours ago
Jack Willis' Champions Cup masterclass proves English eligibility rules need a rethink

If France, Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland got together and all changed their eligibility laws in the same way SA has it would be absolutely bonkers. All players from all nations involved in Europe would be fair game as would their coaches. The investment in rugby would be supercharged as teams would rush to create dream teams. Transfer markets would be super charged, salary caps may change, private investment would grow as rich backers first buy clubs and then put money into their clubs in an effort to land the best players. The richest clubs and franchises would benefit most but money and players would move across borders at a steady flow. Suddenly countries like Wales and Scotland would have a much larger pool of players to select from who would be developed and improved in systems belonging to their rivals within superstar squads while their clubs receive large sums in the transfer market. The Six Nations would experience a big boost as the best players become available all the time. The Champions cup would become even more fiercely contested as the dream teams clash. Fan engagement would grow as fans would follow their favourite players creating interest in the game across the continent. Transfer markets and windows would become interesting events in themselves, speculation would drive it and rumours of big transfers and interest in players would spread. All of this is speculation and much of it would not eventuate straight away but just like in football the spread of players and talent would create these conditions over time. The transfer markets in European football is proof of this. Football had the same club vs country debate eons ago and favoured an open system. This has made it the largest game in the world with global interest and big money. Rugby needs to embrace this approach in the long run as well

12 Go to comments
J
Jon 8 hours ago
Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt

This is a bit dramatic for me, I think the Rebels and Force cultures would be very strong, and if a player is chosen from either, you can be confident they are in a good head space and ready. Whether they quite have the technical or tactical foundations of the other two states is where one would way their risk of selection. I see no need for Schmidt to worry about that risk in this squad. The main reason I could see a predominance of players from Brumbies and Reds, is simple cohesion. What might the coaching group make of what’s lacking in the Tahs, and to a lesser extent Rebels and Force’s, franchise? Certainly sides (players) that are running irish plays like we saw from that lovely McDermott long ball with have a head start. I hope the players can continue it at International level. Really liked what I saw of Wright (don’t know player focus and just hadn’t seen a lot of him anyway) in that game, can see him being a glue in a Wallaby side too. A with the similar worry of selecting players like Ryan, I think it unfounded to worry so much about forward balance at the moment. Including both Wright and Skelton in the same lineout is not going to lose you games gainst Wales. Nor will any unknown weakenss Wales might find in Ryan be exploited to any great extent. It is the perfect time to introduce such a young player. What other shortcuts might Schmidt want to make now, just a year out from hosting BIL? When Gamble came on the scene I thought he had a Pocock ability to break game apart along with performing the role of a openside well. I would be very keen to drop Leota/Hooper for Gamble, and in your squad make up, include Uru as a lock. Did you forget to remove Vunivalu from your team? Would you have Meafou in your squad if you could?

114 Go to comments
FEATURE
FEATURE Tom Roebuck: 'I've seen many, many times people jump the gun to play Test rugby' Tom Roebuck: 'I've seen many, many times people jump the gun to play Test rugby'
Search