Picture: 123RF/Wavebreak Media Ltd
Picture: 123RF/Wavebreak Media Ltd

A double round with the initial inclusion of the Springboks will help restore some of the prestige the Currie Cup has lost over the past few decades.

The Currie Cup‚ the oldest domestic competition in world rugby, is due to kick off‚ subject to government approval‚ in mid-September. If it does, it is likely to enjoy heightened popularity in the eyes of rugby lovers.

With no other senior competition likely on the domestic scene, the Currie Cup is sure to generate much interest. Playing it over a double round with eight combatants‚ and with Springbok participation‚ will lend it long-lost integrity.

The competition is supposed to give the Springboks much-needed game time before they tackle Australia and Argentina‚ as well as hosts New Zealand‚ in the Rugby Championship in October.

With that sort of rugby lined up, more eyes will be fixed on the Currie Cup than has been the case for a while.

Since the advent of Super Rugby in 1996‚ the Currie Cup’s blip dimmed on local rugby radar, but increasingly we are being reminded of its provenance.

Former Western Province loose forward and assistant coach Jerome Paarwater is in no doubt the competition will get some of its gloss back.

“Especially in the first round where the Springboks are supposed to be available‚” said Paarwater. “It will be interesting. I’d say it is about time the Currie Cup gets some of its prestige back. People tend to forget about the Currie Cup until it gets to the semifinal and final.”

With the Covid-19 pandemic having wreaked havoc with the local season, the Currie Cup is likely to be the only senior rugby to get the green light after Super Rugby’s suspension in mid-March.

Paarwater‚ a tough-as-teak former flank and No 8 in his pomp‚ believes the pandemic has forced people to re-evaluate what is important.

“I think the pandemic has taken us back in time a little. People are starting to plant vegetables again‚ they make fires to cook and stay warm, and generally they are trying to live a little healthier. Rugby is also going back to where we were‚ maybe 20‚ 25 years, to when I played in the Currie Cup.”

For the competition to kick off in mid-September‚ however‚ the government will need to give SA Rugby approval for full contact training to resume. Amid the anticipation‚ the clock is ticking.

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