Vodacom Bulls loose forward Josh Strauss believes the unexpected break in the 2020 season could help revive the Currie Cup and restore the tournament’s former glory and prestige. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
The sporting world and most other industries around the globe have been halted amid the raging coronavirus health pandemic.
Of the current 1,275,152 officially recorded cases of Covid-19 worldwide, 1,655 have been reported in South Africa. And while the overall global death toll rose to 69,503 (as per the latest statistics), South Africa has reported 11 fatalities.
The nation is currently on day 11 of a 21-day lockdown in a bid to stop, or at least reduce, the spread of the virus.
Strauss – who played for Boland and the Lions before moving to Europe where he represented the Glasgow Warriors, Sale Sharks, Stade Français and ultimately Scotland at international level – returned to South Africa to join the Bulls for this year’s Vodacom Super Rugby season.
However, the indefinite suspension of the Super Rugby season could have dire financial consequences for Sanzaar, its participating national unions and the franchises.
And while Strauss says he hopes the season can resume so as to avoid the worst-case scenario, he admits that the break in play could be a blessing in disguise for SA rugby as it could spark a revival of the Currie Cup.
‘I’m sure most Super Rugby players do want to get back on the park and play and be assured of a salary. Financially, I should be OK for the immediate future, but with the way things are getting more and more expensive most people can’t go without a proper salary,’ he told SARugbymag.co.za in an exclusive interview.
‘However, if for whatever reason we can’t restart Super Rugby, I think South African rugby should see this as an opportunity to have a Currie Cup season as it was in its glory days,’ Strauss added.
‘Get 10 teams involved and have a home-and-away fixtures. This way smaller unions are getting exposure as well as a lot of players for those unions. I also believe people respond well to local sport, most of the very successful sporting leagues in the world are local competitions where the games have a lot of meaning to the fans.’
For now, though, while everything is still uncertain, Strauss is thankful to just be able to focus on his hobbies without feeling guilty.
‘I am a very relaxed guy for the most part, so this is an opportunity to get some rest for my joints. I do chores and some gardening and after it’s done, I mostly spend time with my two daughters. I’m also an avid gamer and I play and write music, too. With the busy schedule, I haven’t had time to do any of those things, but now I can.’
Despite his positive approach in this trying time, Strauss says he can’t stop thinking about some rugby colleagues and mates who are in a tougher position than him.
‘Some of the South African players can’t come home. I can only imagine how tough it must be for them being in this situation and not being able to come home. I also made good friends during my time in Scotland, England and France and I really hope the guys stay safe.’