The South Africa A side lost to weakened Munster and Bristol teams. MARK KEOHANE says the matches were a shambles and should never have happened in the first place.
In his TimesLive column following SA A’s comprehensive loss to Premiership strugglers Bristol on Thursday night, Keohane writes that the midweek matches ‘should never have happened in the context of the challenge that faces South Africa’s leading teams in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship and Europe’s Heineken Cup’.
“To include two midweek matches, one in Ireland and one in England, was madness because there was absolutely nothing to gain from a national perspective, especially in relation to the 2023 World Cup.
“It didn’t matter what the SA ‘A’ players did against what were essentially Munster B and Bristol B and Academy teams. Had South Africa’s ‘next best’ won each match by 50 the response would have been one of: ‘Just look at the lack of quality among the opposition’.
“The national coaches, pre-tour, spoke of the value of these matches and how the next best would be wiser for playing in foreign conditions and in front of hostile crowds.
“South Africa’s URC players have faced and continue to face the likes of Leinster and Ulster in their respective club competitions. What they did not need after six competitive rounds of the URC was to be sent on a second-rate national tour to play meaningless midweek matches, in which they could only be losers, regardless of the result.”
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