Sat, 06 Mar 2021

  • SA Rugby director of rugby says he's not sure if the Rainbow Cup will take place.
  • The Rainbow Cup will consist of SA's four Super Rugby franchises and 12 teams from Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Italy.
  • Should the Rainbow Cup not take place, Erasmus feels there'll be creative ways to continue playing rugby.

SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus wasn't sure whether the Rainbow Cup, a tournament that will involve the four Super Rugby franchises and 12 teams from Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Italy, will take place.

Last year, SA Rugby announced that the tournament, where the SA teams will have a three-match European tour while the 12 PRO14 teams will all be touring South Africa, is scheduled to start on 17 April with the final set to take place on 19 June.

Erasmus said they want the SA teams to take part in the Rainbow Cup, but they will have to find creative ways to get rugby played in the event of the tournament not taking place.

Depending on whether the British and Irish Lions tour will take place, whatever rugby that will take place will be crucial for SA Rugby.

"We want to play in the Rainbow Cup, and we feel we need to play. We are looking at different scenarios within the committee. Currently, we're going through as per normal, but we're looking at different options like the South African teams playing each other, but the last thing we want is a double round Currie Cup where the South African teams play each other.

"The Franchise Cup is just the franchises playing against each other and maybe the PRO16 could be cancelled and we go back to the Currie Cup again. We're unsure now, but we have three or four options that we're trying to be creative with even though there are no crowds. We're looking at creative ways, if the Rainbow Cup is off, but that may not involve another Currie Cup, especially after another domestic competition."

It's not all doom and gloom should the tournament not take place for SA Rugby as players can rest, but Erasmus said they'll only know at the end of January or early February with regards to a decision.

"If the Rainbow Cup gets cancelled, there is an opportunity for the Franchise Cup or the tournament where the franchises play, it might be played differently. However, we can only know once we know what will happen with the Rainbow Cup," Erasmus said.

"All of those things are being pushed back to the end of the month or the beginning of February with regards to decisions. The competition where the franchises will play against each other to get ready will be vital to get the guys who are underplayed to be ready while those who are overplayed so that we can start the PRO16 on an even keel."

With the Currie Cup finally reaching the playoff stage after a week's hiatus to sort out any Covid-19 related issues, Erasmus also tackled the officiating matter.

Erasmus said they are affected when referees don't perform well but have had to blood new referees at the same time to create depth.

"We take it on the chin once referees don't perform well. They also undergo testing and some of them also test positive, from where a new guy must come in. With no excuses and lessons learnt, but if there were nine guys, there were other competitions and Tests, they would have a game each weekend. Under these circumstances, they only having a game every third weekend.

"You can't ignore the next generation of referees. We must give them a chance. In a normal cycle, everyone is busy each weekend, but because of what is happening, it's now once every three weeks. There were a few referees we took off because of performance. There was no continuity."

Source: News24

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