The revised schedule for the PRO14 Rainbow Cup SA will see three consecutive “Super Saturdays” of top-class local rugby action, starting next weekend on 1 May with encounters in Cape Town and Pretoria.
It is interesting to note that there will be a rest weekend after the first four of six rounds, writes Wim van der Berg about the SA Rugby communications release. The uncompromising forward play for which South African teams are renowned and the competitive edge that derbies bring increases the injury risk factor for South Africa’s best players before the series against the British and Irish Lions, with the first ('tour') match a mere three weeks after completion of the Rainbow tournament.
It also leaves six weeks for Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber to prepare the Springboks for the first test of the series.
▲ SA Rugby and PRO14 Rugby announced the amended fixtures and kick-off times for the PRO14 Rainbow Cup SA on Friday. All the action will be broadcast live in South Africa on SuperSport, as well as in the UK and Ireland by eir Sport (ROI) and Premier Sports (UK).
The opening match is a coastal clash between the DHL Stormers and Cell C Sharks at Cape Town Stadium (14h00), followed by the Jukskei Derby between the Vodacom Bulls and the Emirates Lions at Loftus Versfeld (19h00).
“It’s a pity we could not have the competition as we first envisaged it, but to see these four teams slug it out over seven weeks is sure to bring out the best in South African rugby,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.
“We are very grateful to SuperSport for being so accommodating in the late changes, and to our friends in Europe for allowing our teams to continue in the competition they’ve been preparing for.”
Rassie Erasmus, Director of Rugby, said it would have been good to see the South African teams take on the might of European club rugby as the Castle Lager Lions Series moves closer.
“We’ll have to wait a bit longer to face the best club sides of Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales, but meanwhile we have a tough competition that will hopefully prepare our players for what promises to be a massive series against the British & Irish Lions,” said Erasmus.
“The rugby we saw when the season restarted last year was hot and cold, but it got better and in the 2021 Kick-Off Pools the teams were looking much better, and hopefully they can take that form and intensity into the Rainbow Cup SA.
“It was also good to see a number of younger players putting their hands, while our established and experienced players underlined their class. The PRO14 Rainbow Cup SA provides another opportunity for players to stake claims for higher honours and I’m excited to see what our teams can conjure up in the next few weeks.”
The normal Guinness PRO14 points’ system will be used – four points for a win, bonus points for scoring four tries or more, or for losing within a margin of seven points or fewer, and two points to each team for a drawn match.
Rounds four to six will see a reverse of the first rounds of fixtures between 22 May and 12 June, with a bye for all four teams, details of the kick-off times which will be confirmed in due course.
PRO14 RAINBOW CUP SA FIXTURES – ROUNDS 1-3
Saturday 1 May
14h00: DHL Stormers vs Cell C Sharks (Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town)
19h00: Vodacom Bulls vs Emirates Lions (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria)
Saturday 8 May
16h00: Cell C Sharks vs Emirates Lions (Jonsson Kings Park, Durban
18h15: DHL Stormers vs Vodacom Bulls (Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town)
Saturday 15 May
Kick-off TBC: Emirates Lions vs DHL Stormers (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg)
18h15: Vodacom Bulls vs Cell C Sharks (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria)
ROUNDS 4-6 (kick-off times TBC)
Weekend 21/22 May
Cell C Sharks vs DHL Stormers
Emirates Lions vs Vodacom Bulls
Weekend 4/5 June
Emirates Lions vs Cell C Sharks
Vodacom Bulls vs DHL Stormers
Weekend 11/12 June
DHL Stormers vs Emirates Lions
Cell C Sharks vs Vodacom Bulls
Note: All fixtures are subject to change.
Issued by SA Rugby Communications