The Cheetahs were at loggerheads with the Bulls and Sharks at SA Rugby’s annual general meeting last week regarding the Currie Cup format.
It was previously voted that this year’s Currie Cup will be a double- round format, meaning teams will play each other twice (home and away) before the playoffs.
But with the competition rescheduled to run from 19 June to the first week of October, a couple of franchises have voiced their concern that tournament won’t be strength-versus-strength.
It is believed the Bulls and Sharks opposed the double-round format at last week’s general meeting, citing that the Currie Cup will overlap with the international window during which several of their key players will be away with the Boks for both the Lions series and the Rugby Championship.
The Bulls and Sharks tabled a motion for the reversal of the double round in favour of a single round, but the Cheetahs opposed it vehemently before the decision was made to stick with the format as previously voted for.
‘If SA Rugby makes a decision, we keep to it,’ Free State Cheetahs Rugby Union president Jerry Segwaba told Sport24.
‘No exemptions were given to us. The same principle applies now,’ he said with regard to when the Cheetahs had to juggle Currie Cup and PRO14 participation at the same time in 2017 and 2018 because the competitions ran concurrently.
Free State Cheetahs chairman Ryno Opperman said he sympathised with the Bulls and Sharks, but by and large shared Segwaba’s sentiment.
‘It’s true that the Currie Cup will have a double round and the reality is that it’s going to place pressure on some of the teams in terms of depth,’ he said to Sport24.
‘We experienced that challenge first-hand and we have sympathy for it.
‘But there’s a reason why some franchises are in this position. They’re strong entities with strong player bases, so they would be able to still select competitive teams.’
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