Western Province backline duo Dillyn Leyds and Ruhan Nel both believe the Currie Cup is still going strong, writes DYLAN JACK.
South Africa’s domestic competition has taken a hammering this year, with critics (as well as some coaches) slamming the single-round league format and bemoaning the poor crowd attendances.
However, both Lleyds and Nel stood up for the competition on Monday.
Lleyds used the scenes after their extra-time 35-32 semi-final victory over the Blue Bulls as an example that the Currie Cup is still producing memorable moments.
‘It was really special,’ Lleyds said. ‘You can see by the emotion shown on the bench and by every single player and every single management member who was on the sideline.
‘A lot has been said about the Currie Cup and the way it has gone on. We are just thankful that people still want to turn up to Newlands to come and watch us play. I think we have done ourselves proud up until now by playing the type of rugby to draw the crowd back to Newlands.
‘Hopefully this weekend we will see an even bigger crowd. The boys took a lot of energy from the crowd in those 20 minutes of extra-time so I think all is good and well with Currie Cup rugby.’
Nel, the former Blitzbok who got his break in the 15-man game with Province last season, said his call-up to the Springbok squad during the Rugby Championship showed there is still an interest from the national coaches in the domestic tournament.
‘The Currie Cup is definitely special, this year more than ever,’ Nel said. ‘People are saying the Currie Cup is dead and it has been going downhill.
‘Looking back on my journey this year, this is where coach Rassie [Erasmus] actually saw me and saw something special in me. It is a platform I was given and through that I have been making the best of that opportunity.
‘I got an opportunity for higher honours. I could have easily been in the match 23 for the games against Australia or New Zealand, you never know what coach Rassie is thinking.
‘It just goes to show that the Currie Cup is not down. People are watching, the right eyes are watching. I am a testament to that. You can be picked [for the Boks] out of the Currie Cup.’
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) October 22, 2018
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images