Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

The conundrum of the SA Cup: Is anyone benefitting?

So the question has to be asked what exactly these lopsided results will do for the Currie Cup or first division teams?

Not many people may know, or are following it, but the recently launched SA Cup competition is currently in full swing and is being battled out across the country by the smaller rugby unions in South Africa.

With the big four of the Stormers, Bulls, Sharks and Lions omitted from the competition, it leaves the other four teams in the Currie Cup, the Cheetahs, Pumas, Griquas and Griffons, taking part along with all of the Currie Cup first division sides.

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The 10-team tournament has seen its first three rounds battled out and heads into its fourth this weekend, but a big trend is already emerging.

The quality of the Currie Cup teams far exceeds that of the first division teams and that is leading to some very lopsided results.

The Griquas, Pumas and Griffons are the top three teams on the log respectively, having picked up bonus point wins in their opening three games, with the Cheetahs fourth on the log having lost once.

The Griquas have thrashed the Leopards 88-0, the Valke 66-25 and the Border Bulldogs 119-5 to have already established a massive positive points difference of 243.

The Pumas

The Pumas have thumped the Eagles 43-22, Eastern Province 61-0 and a second-string Cheetahs team missing all their regulars due to the Challenge Cup competition 50-0.

The Griffons have also picked up big wins of 52-8 over the Bulldogs and 42-10 over the Leopards, while they were pushed hard by the Boland Cavaliers before securing a 34-31 win.

In the two games that the Cheetahs had most of their regulars available they hammered the Cavaliers 38-7 and the Leopards 76-5.

So the question has to be asked what exactly these lopsided results will do for the Currie Cup or first division teams?

Are the Currie Cup sides getting enough of a challenge out of these games? Are the first division sides able to take anything from these hammerings or are they just cannon fodder?

Obviously things will become a lot more competitive when the Currie Cup teams face each other, as well as the first division sides fronting up against one another.

The SA Cup is definitely a needed competition, as having only the Currie Cup and the first division is not enough for the smaller unions.

But what is desperately needed is a more competitive playing field and SA Rugby needs to come up with a way to strengthen the smaller unions, so as to grow a more competitive professional rugby culture around the country.