Doubt about South Africa’s participation in the Rugby Championship has raised the possibility that the Currie Cup could receive an even bigger Springbok injection.
The delayed return to play in South Africa continue to raise doubt over the Boks’ involvement in the SANZAAR competition, with reports from New Zealand and Australia also casting doubt about the feasibility of the tournament this year.
Franchise coaches say players need at least four weeks of contact work before they can play, meaning a local competition cannot start before the weekend of September 25-26.
Were the Springboks to compete in the November 7 to December 12 Championship, which New Zealand is likely to host, they would have to leave South Africa by October 18.
Assuming that domestic matches are staged each weekend in South Africa, potential Springboks would have played only four games by the travel deadline.
South Africa's four Super Rugby sides – the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers – are reportedly set to join Europe's Pro14 competition by early next year.https://t.co/8HIkfc0Eqt
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) August 29, 2020
Referring to the Championship recently, new Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber said that “unless we can play six domestic matches, I do not think we will go [to New Zealand].”
New Zealand Rugby had hoped to stage the opening Bledisloe Cup match in Wellington on October 10, but New Zealand’s new COVID-19 outbreak earlier this month has created uncertainty about the feasibility of that happening.
It means more delays and uncertainty over the Rugby Championship.
Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White, in his weekly ‘No Holds Barred’ interviews series on the Bulls social media applications, hinted that the Boks may not be involved in the Rugby Championship.
He has asked what his plans are for rotating players and covering injuries and said he will look at the schedule and make assessments before deciding on a strategy.
“There was a feeling that the Springboks would be leaving to play [in the Rugby Championship] overseas,” White said.
“That hasn’t been confirmed either.
“It could be that [players like] Duane Vermeulen and Trevor Nyakane could be available for the entire Currie Cup season.
“If that is the case it has an impact on how you rotate the players.”
Another topic of discussion on the Bulls’ mobile App was White’s preferred method of defence in an era where the rush or press defence has become popular.
He reminded the viewers that in 2004 his Springbok team started the ‘rush’ defence, by coming off the line fast and closing down the opposition from the outside.
“It is something we are familiar with in South Africa and it is something the players are comfortable with,” White said, adding: “Of course we will be using it, but I am not sure we will be using it all the time.
“What has changed a massive amount in the last couple of years is the defence patterns.”
He added that with his experience of having coached in Australia, France and Japan he has the experience of a variety of attack strategies.
“I am looking at a combination of what the Bulls are strong at, what the Bulls are strong at, what the Australian, Japanese and French sides do well.
“There will be a tweak to the way we play, but we will never forget that the Bulls have a DNA that is important to them as well.”
– Rugby 365
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