• Currie Cup preview (Round 4)

    Bulls fans will be worried this week as a Covid outbreak in their camp threatens to derail their quest to top the Currie Cup table, writes ANDRE-PIERRE CRONJE.

    The Vodacom Bulls have already had their game this weekend against the Griquas cancelled after numerous positive Covid tests amongst both the playing and coaching staff on Tuesday. They will feel aggrieved as it would have been a good opportunity to bounce back from last week’s loss in Durban with a bonus point victory against the team languishing at the bottom of the table.

    Bulls CEO Edgar Rathbone was somewhat fatalistic in a Zoom interview with SuperSport.com on Thursday saying ‘it is unfortunate that it [Covid] has hit us now, it was probably expected that somewhere along the line you would be affected’

    As things stand, the Bulls top the log with 35 points after 10 matches (including their cancelled match this weekend where they have been awarded two points for a ‘draw’). The Sharks are seven points adrift in second position with 28 points. However, crucially, the Sharks also have two games in hand.

    Four points for a victory means that two consecutive wins in their next two matches (against the Lions and Cheetahs) would give the Sharks eight points and move them one point ahead of the Bulls after the same number of games played. Two bonus point victories for the Sharks would of course see them move even further ahead by three points.

    Where it gets interesting is if the Bulls were to have their game next week against the Lions also cancelled. The scale of the Covid outbreak in the Bulls camp suggests that this is a distinct possibility. Their entire squad has been quarantined and will have to remain so for 10 days.

    If this were to happen the Bulls would take only two points out of that game – leaving them with 37 points from 11 games played.

    What that means is that should the Sharks beat the Lions and the Cheetahs, and the Bulls have their game against the Lions called off, we could see a situation where the Sharks are one point behind the Bulls on the table (36), level with them (37), or even one point ahead (38), depending on bonus points. All with a game still to play.

    This would leave the Sharks sitting very pretty as the Currie Cup approaches its knockout stages and might even see the final of the competition being played in Durban. Although desperately unfortunate for the Bulls, Covid has blown the Currie Cup wide open.

    Photo: Anton Geyser/Gallo Images