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‘Currie Cup in danger’

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Western Province coach John Dobson says the gradual watering down of the Currie Cup is threatening to ‘destroy South African rugby’s production line’. CRAIG LEWIS reports for SARugbyMAG.co.za

This season saw one of the most low-key Currie Cup competitions facing a battle to grab the attention of rugby followers, with the World Cup completely overshadowing the domestic tournament.

However, even before this year, there have been warning signs that the public profile of the Currie Cup is in danger of continuing to diminish, with the continually expanding Super Rugby competition serving to further saturate an overloaded rugby calendar.

Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Already we have seen top Bok players being withdrawn from domestic action, and with the Super Rugby competition expanding to include 18 teams from next year, while being followed immediately by the Rugby Championship, the Currie Cup will continue to face a battle against waning interest.

‘This is probably the most poorly attended Currie Cup final that I can remember,’ Dobson commented after Saturday’s title decider in Joburg. ‘I appreciate the Boks were playing the All Blacks on the same day, but South African rugby needs to look very carefully at what we are doing to the Currie Cup. It’s a unique selling prospect, and with so many guys playing overseas, these guys here are going so quickly from Currie Cup to Super Rugby to Springbok rugby. If we’re going to keep watering down the Currie Cup, we’re literally destroying our own rugby production line.

‘I really feel incredibly strongly about this, we have to look after the Currie Cup. I think the new Super Rugby format requires a professor from MIT or Stanford to work it out,’ he added. ‘I don’t feel any competition should be judged on teams that don’t play each other; it goes against the very nature of such a competition. We must look after our Currie Cup and I think at the moment we’re in danger of watering it down.’

The expanded Super Rugby competition will kick off at the end of February and run until August, while breaking in June for the incoming internationals. The exact format and dates of the 2016 Currie Cup competition are still to be confirmed.

It’s believed that the Vodacom Cup will be done away with next year, with the Currie Cup qualifying competition set to be run concurrently during part of the Super Rugby season.

Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

9 COMMENTS

  1. I am not in the least excited about next year’s protracted super rugby tournament to be honest.

    This year I struggled to remain interested, and next year I do not think I will even bother. More of the same in local derbies with some unknown Argie and Jap teams thrown in. Where’s the excitement in that?

    And all of that from Feb to August? what the hell?

  2. @Craven: I am a lil excited about the Jap and Arg sides. I know they will not be exciting like the national sides but could add variety. CC has no excitement anymore as you say. SR has become a commercial tool. Make it Super 8 and have the cream of the crop compete. Let the rest play in a B league. Cordero for the Arg side will be my Nehe next year.

  3. Super rufby attendance for local derbies destroys currie cup. People are just less excited about super rugby now because we got mashed this year.

    A cleverly designed format to inflate local supporters egos into thinking they are better than they actually are will fix that though

  4. American football teams don’t play every other team in the league either. With the nature of these two games and a growing competition it is hard to organize it like that. If a team could play multiple games in a week then it would be a different story, but rugby players needs rest.

    What bothers me most is that we still have a tougher travel schedule and it seems to have gotten a bit worse. Maybe there are options to lesson the burden of travel for all teams?

    Each country has qualification rounds played against their own teams followed by some sort of round robin which would mean travel is reduced and quality of matches is increased?

    The tournament is too long for me these days. Make it shorter but more intense. Then there will still be time for the Currie Cup. Heck, I wish the currie cup could somehow be justified as the qualification round of super rugby…..wishful thinking though.

  5. @Sasori: there is little money in short tournaments. The french top 14 teams play 26-28 games a year… Mid week as well.

    If we had a short european cup type tournament, those 8 or so weeks is the only time we will ever get to see the best players playing in south africa.

  6. @GrootBull: Yeah I know

    In the NFL players play 16 regular season games (speak under correction). They get paid more and play way less then a top level rugby player.

    Its a shame that we don’t share have their economy in the SANZAR countries because super rugby would be way better if we did.

  7. @Sasori: and our economy is getting worse. More rugby players are leaving now than ever, and it has nothing to do with the selection of overseas players for the boks.

  8. SR will kill the CC and especially the Vodacom Cup.

    Quite correctly CC and Varsity Cup will become feeder comps to the SR.

    In NZ the local comp is also whithering away.

    SA and NZ may be getting richer but pocket lining is killing tradition.

  9. @DavidS:

    David, I believe Vodacom Cup will indeed fall away from next year, leaving Currie Cup to fill that development void.

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