SA Rugby is reportedly in talks to include the Cheetahs and a potentially ‘Emerging Springboks’ side in a new domestic tournament.
According to reports by News24, SA Rugby is planning a local competition set to kick off in May involving the teams not featured in the Rainbow Cup.
The tournament would serve chiefly as preparation for the upcoming Currie Cup but also the British & Irish Lions series. In addition to the Cheetahs, it’s likely to also feature teams such as the Pumas, Griquas and EP Elephants – who all have no indication of when they are next set to play rugby.
Meanwhile, the teams that would have played in the Rainbow Cup will compete in a double round of matches domestically, but will not travel to Europe given South Africa’s designation as a ‘red-list’ country.
Cheetahs chair Ryno Opperman has expressed the union’s disappointment at not being involved in discussions about the Rainbow Cup in an official statement on the Cheetahs’ website.
‘The Cheetahs were surprised by the statement that the Rainbow Cup would take place in South Africa and especially the possible implications for South African rugby.
‘The Cheetahs were not aware beforehand of the details of the competition, especially not that a double-round match roster was planned for the four participating teams. This could adversely effect the rugby calendar and preparation for SA’s star tournament, the Currie Cup, as well as for the British & Irish Lions tour.
‘The announcement also means that recent discussions between Saru and the unions about a ‘Franchise Cup’ that would have involved eight teams cannot progress at this stage.’