Two tournaments for domestic return?

Vodacom Bulls director of rugby Jake White has revealed what the structure of the South African domestic tournaments could be when rugby resumes later this year.

On Thursday, the South African government gave rugby the green light to return to the playing field under certain conditions. It allows for a return to competitive action subject to compliance with measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Jurie Roux has confirmed SA Rugby hopes to play its first domestic matches by early to mid-September, although the return to international competition is not yet permitted under the new regulations.

In a digital press conference on Thursday, White revealed he had heard that a strength vs strength tournament involving the South African Vodacom Super Rugby teams will take place before an eight-team single-round Currie Cup.

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This means that the Springboks would return to rugby in the six-week domestic Super Rugby competition, before departing for New Zealand to prepare for the Rugby Championship. The  South Africa Super Rugby and Pro14 would then be without their Springboks for a Currie Cup competition with the Pumas and Griquas, held over eight weeks.

‘The talk is that one bio-bubble will be the Super Rugby one and the other will be the Pro14 and Currie Cup,’ White said.

‘If that were the case, after we’ve completed the Super Rugby rounds, we’ll change over when the Springboks leave [for the Rugby Championship in New Zealand].

‘Then there’s almost an advantage for the other teams to play against a Super Rugby franchise without their national players,’ White added. ‘That could make for quite an interesting Currie Cup.

‘I don’t think it’s a bad idea. It’s obviously not great if you lose half your team to the Springboks but I suppose if you’re a so-called smaller union then it’s quite a nice thought. You get a crack against all the big teams.’

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