South Africa’s involvement in the planned intercontinental Rainbow Cup is set to implode due to a lack of necessary clearances just days away from the scheduled kick-off.
The newly formed competition – featuring the four big South African franchises as well as teams from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales – was set to kick off this weekend, with the Stormers hosting the Sharks in Cape Town while the Vodacom Bulls were scheduled to welcome the Lions at Loftus.
As reported by SARugbymag.co.za on Monday, South Africa’s teams have been stuck in a period of frustrating limbo as they awaited the fully fledged green light to head into the planned opening derby fixtures of the Rainbow Cup.
Sources described the period of uncertainty as ‘incredibly frustrating’, ‘absolute chaos’ and ‘terrible times’.
Just over a week ago it first emerged that the PRO14 Rainbow Cup was in some jeopardy after South Africa’s four participating teams were told to suspend their visa applications over issues that arose around clearance from the UK government to be based in the planned Bristol base.
Meetings were continuing on Tuesday, but it’s expected that franchises will be informed that they will not be heading into action this weekend.
It remains to be seen what the alternative might be for South Africa’s sides, particularly as the Rainbow Cup was seen as a crucial competition in terms of preparing leading players for the British & Irish Lions series.