The Stormers and Western Province are determined to get the new year off to a flying start despite the challenge of competing concurrently in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship and Currie Cup.
January will mark the first time that the Stormers and Western Province play competitively at the same time, as the 2022 Currie Cup is set to get under way early next year at the same time the URC will resume action.
However, this will give just about every player in the system an opportunity to prove themselves.
Both squads will return to training this side of the year after the Christmas break, in order to to hit the ground running.
The Stormers ended the year on a low by suffering a disappointing loss to the Lions in their first home game in Cape Town, but head coach John Dobson says the team is eager to bounce back in 2022.
“That was definitely not the way we wanted to end the year, it was obviously very challenging times with the uncertainty around the match, the last-minute disruptions to the team and the Covid-19 issues we had in the squad, which meant that we could not train as we would have liked to in the week,” Dobson told the franchise’s official website.
“Everyone is determined to get back to playing rugby the faithful can be proud of and building on the promising signs we showed on our tour. We will be working very hard after the break to ensure that we are at our best when the competition starts again.”
Dobson added that while it will be a serious challenge, he was looking forward to having both teams in action at the same time.
“There are many players in our system who have lacked game time over the last two years, with only one team playing at a time.
“With both squads in full competition mode, we will be able to have a close look at how everyone is performing under pressure, which should lift the standards across the board,” he explained.
Western Province head coach Jerome Paarwater says the way the two squads work together going forward will be key.
“Every player in our squad will want to do the blue-and-white hoops proud in the Currie Cup, but they will also be pushing hard for an opportunity with the Stormers, so there will be no lack of motivation.
“It will be important for the two coaching teams to work together, to ensure that we are all singing off the same sheet and if players do move between teams there is a seamless transition,” he said.
Photo: Luca Sighinolfi/INPHO/Shutterstock