The Stormers are readying themselves for a split Currie Cup campaign if the United Rugby Championship continues as expected in the New Year.
With URC games set to resume for the South African sides in early January and the Currie Cup expected to get under way in the middle of that month, the Stormers and Western Province will feature two different teams to battle on different fronts.
“There is no question that we have to split functions, if the Currie Cup team is playing on a Wednesday and us playing on a Saturday in the URC or I think there is one day, I stand to be corrected, when both teams are playing in Durban on the same day,” explained Stormers coach John Dobson this week.
“So we will have to separate functions and there will be an announcement on the coaching staff soon.”
Dobson is looking forward to the Currie Cup as there are a number of fringe players who haven’t been able to play regular rugby over the past year and a half, with this competition now the perfect opportunity to get them some much needed game time.
“We have far too many guys who haven’t played meaningful rugby since the pandemic started,” admitted Dobson.
“So for big unions who have been forced into must-win games for a year and half, we haven’t had a SuperSport Challenge or Vodacom Cup, so I think this Currie Cup has been brilliant in getting the professionals who haven’t played enough more rugby.
“I think that campaign is a great opportunity for guys who need to play a bit. You saw some of the guys who came on (against the Lions) needed some more game time, which they will finally now get.”
The Stormers are also preparing to lose a couple of their loan players for the URC who will return to their home unions for the Currie Cup.
“We had hoped to keep them … I think Junior Pokomela will stay with us, we still have to finalise a bit of paperwork with that, but Willie (Englebrecht) and Stefan Ungerer will be returning to the Pumas and Griquas respectively,” said Dobson.
“I think we could have made a case to keep them but with the Currie Cup moved to January and with that the bread and butter tournament for those unions, it is pretty clear that they have to go back.”