Western Province coach John Dobson says the Currie Cup needs to return to a double-round league if it is to maximise its potential as a developmental competition. DYLAN JACK reports.
As it was in 2018, the Currie Cup will once again have each side playing each other once, with a maximum of eight fixtures should a team get through to the final.
While it makes for a more competitive competition, as each dropped point is likely to be punished, it does mean that there is very little room for a trial-and-error approach to squad management.
Dobson, who was critical of the decision to shorten the competition last year, once again voiced his concerns over the structure of South Africa’s oldest domestic tournament.
‘If we are to say it is a developmental competition, as much as I don’t like the idea, then we need to play over a double round to get guys through,’ Dobson said. ‘If you want to host a playoff, you have to pretty much go through unbeaten. That means little room to manoeuvre. We want to be giving guys on the periphery a chance, but there’s just no room.
‘I have said it before, Western Province is always going to want the Currie Cup. With the financial pressures that every union is under, obviously ours are well documented, you have to try and host playoffs. So we don’t have much room to manoeuvre in terms of blooding. I won’t be able to wear that cap of giving someone like [scrumhalf] Paul de Wet a Currie Cup final in place of Jano [Vermaak]. The experimentation will come in how we play and train. There are various technical aspects we want to refine.
”I don’t mind the single round, but if you are trying to bring players through to increase the depth of South African rugby then it probably should be a double round.’
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