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SARU green light two South African teams for Anglo-Welsh Cup venture

By Alex Shaw
SARU pull trigger on Anglo Welsh Cup

The South African Rugby Union (SARU) have decided today that the Griquas and Pumas will be the two teams put forward to join the Anglo-Welsh Cup in the 2018-19 season, per RugbyPass sources.

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RugbyPass exclusively revealed on October 9th that SARU were in advanced stages of talks centred around committing two teams to the development tournament, before a further exclusive on October 24th that the Griquas and Pumas were the two leading candidates for the spots.

At SARU’s general council meeting today, the union rubber-stamped its preferred candidates and whilst there were strong bids from several Currie Cup First Division teams, who were keen to band together and form composite sides, it was the bids from the two Currie Cup Premier Division teams that won out.

The decision was made by SARU’s Executive Council before being ratified at the general council, rather than being put to a vote, with the bids from the Griquas and Pumas deemed the strongest.

The Griquas, who call Kimberley home, play at the 11,000-seater Griqua Park, whilst the Pumas, who reside in Nelspruit, play at the 40,929-seater Mbombela Stadium, with infrastructure one of the key strengths in their respective bids.

It will also expose the regions of Northern Cape and Mpumalanga Province to a new competition, leaving North West and Limpopo as the only provinces without international representation in one of Super Rugby, Guinness PRO14 or the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

Both sides’ places in the Currie Cup Premier Division were also key, with the competition’s schedule potentially being cut in half from next season, as the Griquas and Pumas look to participate in the Anglo-Welsh Cup, as well as the Cheetahs and Southern Kings being committed to the PRO14. That decision is also on the table at the general council meeting today.

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There has been no official release from SARU or Premier Rugby Limited yet, but it looks as if today is another big step forward in the South African rugby’s attempt to further involve themselves in European rugby and move away from their traditional southern hemisphere alignment.

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Shaylen 5 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

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Jon 11 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

I think the main problem here is the structure of both countries make up. They are going to have very similar.. obstacles(not problems). It will just be part of the evolution of their rugby and they’ll need to find a way to make this versatility more advantageous than specialization. I think South Africa are well on the way to that end already, but Ireland are more likely to have a hierarchical approach and move players around the provinces. Ioane is going to be more than good enough to lock up one of those available positions for more than a few years I believe though. Morgan would definitely be a more long term outlook. Sacha to me has the natural footwork of a second five. Not everything is about winning, if a team has 3 players that want to play 10s just give them all a good go even if its to the detriment of everyone, this is also about dreams of the players, not just the fans. This is exactly how it would be in an amateur club setting. Ultimately some players just aren’t suited to any one position. The example was of a guy that had size and speed, enough pace to burn, power to drive, and speed to kick and pass long, but just not much else when it came to actual rugby (that matched it). New Zealand has it’s own example with Jordie Barrett and probably shows what Reece Hodge could have been if the game in Australia had any administration. Despite the bigger abundance of talent in NZ, Jordie was provided with consistent time as a fullback, before being ushered in as a second five. Possibly this was due to his blood, and another might not have been as fortunate, but it is what it was, a complete contrast to how Hodge was used in Australia, were he could have had any position he wanted. When it comes down to it though, much like these young fellas, it will be about what they want, and I think you’ll find they’ll be like Hodge and just want to be as valuable to the team as they can and play wherever. It’s not like 63 International Cap is a hard thing to live with as a result of that decision!

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FEATURE Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma
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