SA Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus has defended the integrity of the Currie Cup competition and the state of rugby in the country after coming under attack in recent weeks.
With Covid a major factor at the moment, Erasmus said the four teams in the Currie Cup semi-finals this weekend will have a Thursday deadline to submit their team sheets.
“We decided on 12pm on Thursday for all the teams (to submit their lineups) so that no fingers can be pointed or teams held back,” he said.
“Unfortunately, if a team cannot play in the semi-final they will lose out,” said Erasmus.
“But if both are unable to field a team then the one with the highest log points will go through, but the final has to be played even if it’s moved out by a week.”
Erasmus pointed out that Covid had had a great impact on the country and that he and his family were also victims of the virus. Bulls coach Jake White and the Sharks’ Sean Everitt recently also revealed they’d been downed by the virus.
“I am now on day 23 and it’s better, but earlier when I got it, and then when my wife got it it was quite bad, and then the kids got it too. Days 9, 10 and 11 were the worst, but fortunately the kids had only mild symptoms, like a loss of smell,” he said.
Erasmus said he’d taken note of the opinions of former coaches Nick Mallett and Swys de Bruin who recently questioned the standard of the Currie Cup.
“I totally get what people say about the state of the game, and they probably have a point, but due to Covid testing teams only had about 280 minutes training time weekly on the field,” said Erasmus.
“But when people mention ball in play, like 25 or 26 minutes, that’s our job on a daily basis to analyse players, how many cleans, how many tackles, and they get rated how far they are from the Bok team,” he said.
“There were only five games cancelled out of 44 or 46 and if those happened in a single round the integrity would have been much more compromised,” he said, referring to the log points that were carried over from the Super Rugby Unlocked competition to the Currie Cup.