Sithembiso Dindi
2 minute read
14 Apr 2021
11:15

Saru confirm Rainbow Cup kick-off times despite talk of cancellation

Sithembiso Dindi

Despite strong signs that the South African “super” franchises will not be part of the Rainbow Cup, Saru went on to confirm kick-off times for the competition’s opening fixtures on Tuesday.

Despite strong signs that the South African “super” franchises will not be part of the Rainbow Cup, Saru went on to confirm kick-off times for the competition’s opening fixtures on Tuesday.

Reports that the competition has been cancelled due to the government’s Covid-19 regulations in the other countries that the Sharks, Bulls, Stormers and Lions have to travel to.

The other countries that are part of the competition are Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales.

“Confirmation of the planned matches for rounds four to six will follow once PRO14 Rugby has received all necessary approvals and permissions from the relevant governments and health authorities for the South African teams to travel.”
South African Rugby Union

The stumbling block at the moment is that the United Kingdom government is not happy with SA teams travelling to Britain due because of Covid-19 concerns.

On Tuesday, a media report quoted Saru president Mark Alexander as saying the competition has not been cancelled and South Africa is looking at every possible scenario to stage the local sides’ overseas matches. The tournament will kick off in South Africa with the Sharks and Stormers will get the competition underway at Cape Town Stadium on Friday, April 24.

“Confirmation of the planned matches for rounds four to six will follow once PRO14 Rugby has received all necessary approvals and permissions from the relevant governments and health authorities for the South African teams to travel,” said Saru in a statement.

The opening clash will see Springbok captain Siya Kolisi facing his former side, the Stormers, for the first time since leaving them for the Sean Everitt-coached Sharks team in February.

READ MORE: SA’s rugby franchises still hopeful of Rainbow Cup action

The Sharks v Stormers clash will be followed by Ulster’s derby match with Connacht, and Zebre’s trip to Edinburgh both at 9.15 pm.

Benetton will host Glasgow Warriors on the following day at 2 pm while the Bulls take on the Lions at 4 pm.

At 6.15 pm, Ospreys will face Cardiff Blues as Leinster are scheduled to host Munster in a rematch of their PRO14 Final at 8.35 pm.

Dragons and Scarlets will finish off the opening round on Sunday at 2 pm.

The word is that if the local franchises get the boot from the Rainbow Cup, they will play in another local tournament against the Cheetahs, Pumas, Griquas and the EP Elephants.

But that’s not as lucrative as playing against their European counterparts.