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Currie Cup conundrum to impact URC kick-off?

A dispute over mandatory player rest periods could have a significant impact on two rugby competitions contested by South African teams.

SA Rugby are facing a crucial decision over the Currie Cup which could impact the start of the next Vodacom URC season after a ruling over mandatory player rest periods.

An arbitration verdict announced last night ruled that all provincial players – including those playing for the Stormers, Bulls, Lions and Sharks – must have an uninterrupted rest period of eight weeks every 12 months.

This comes after the South African Rugby Players’ Association (Sarpa) asked the arbitrator to rule on a clause in the players’ collective agreement. The ruling applies to all players contracted by South African unions, including Springboks, and must happen at the same time.

SA Rugby now have to make a big decision over whether or not to go ahead with the 2024 edition of the Currie Cup, which is scheduled to take place from July to the end of September.

Players organisation MyPlayers is happy for the Currie Cup to go ahead as planned, but only if there is an eight-week rest period for all provincial players later in the year.

This means that the URC calendar could be impacted, as SA Rugby would have to find an alternative two-month rest period before the end of the year.

The URC recently announced the calendar for the 2024/25 season, which will kick off on September 20 and run until the following June.

If SA Rugby cannot reach an agreement with the URC, it would have to revisit the decision to schedule the Currie Cup for the July-September window, which could in turn have an impact on the tournament’s sponsorship.

An SA Rugby spokesperson said the organisation is consulting with its members as well as Sarpa to consider the fixture scheduling implications of the ruling.

The post Currie Cup call to impact URC? appeared first on SA Rugby magazine.

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