No Boks for Currie Cup
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 12:26
Unavailable for the duration of that competition
SARU has sent a request to the Currie cup coaches to exclude all contracted Springbok players, and en masse, they have responded positivity.
In the past, the Currie cup has always seen a lack of Springboks during the pool stages due to the Tri-nations or Rugby Championship.
However, once the international window closes, coaches are left scrambling to bring back their best players in a final push to gain some provincial silverware.
This year however, there will be no contracted Springboks making an appearance, SARU's request clearly aimed at lessening the game-time of these busy players.
It was Sharks CEO John Smit that broke the news of the request when he spoke to the Sharks website, looking ahead to the Currie cup.
“It was decided upon that all contracted Boks will play no part in the Currie Cup, which puts us at a bit of a disadvantage,” Smit confirmed.
“It also depends on who gets selected for the Rugby Championship because they will then be unavailable for the duration of that competition as well.
Smit was making mention of the role of newly appointed captain, Lubabalo Mthembu, would have to play with many of his Super Rugby comrades missing for the Currie Cup in its entirety.
“I can see he has some nerves but I’m sure that’s just because of the magnitude of the task he’s about to take on. He has the respect of his peers, he’s young enough to know he has a lot to learn, but he is willing to do that," Smit added.
There has often been discussion on the role that the late returning Springboks will play in the provincial tournament, but Smit has decided to look at the positives and to go back to the core role of the Currie Cup - grooming youngsters.
"There are two ways of looking at it though: you can be negative and worry about how it affects your chances to win the Currie Cup, or you can be excited about creating Springboks and testing the depth of the squad," the CEO said.
"We have some exciting youngsters and there will be a few fresh faces.”
“We have loads of talent, there are youngsters who haven’t even turned 19 yet who could have a role to play in the Currie Cup.
"There’s a huge amount of excitement about what this Currie Cup could offer in that regard.
"The challenge in the first five or six weeks of the Currie Cup is that we will face other teams who have had two months to prepare, so we need to make sure we bat cleverly in the beginning.”
The 17 contracted Springboks for 2014 are: Willem Alberts (loose forward), Jean de Villiers (centre), Bismarck du Plessis (hooker), Jannie du Plessis (prop), Eben Etzebeth (lock), Siya Kolisi (loose forward), Tendai Mtawarira (prop), Frans Steyn (utility back), Adriaan Strauss (hooker) and Duane Vermeulen (No. 8), Marcell Coetzee (loose forward), JJ Engelbrecht (centre/wing), Francois Hougaard (scrumhalf), Patrick Lambie (flyhalf/fullback), Willie le Roux (fullback/wing), Coenie Oosthuizen (prop), Flip van der Merwe (lock) and JP Pietersen (wing).
The Sharks start their Currie Cup campaign against Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday, August 9.
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