Currie Cup still faces Covid reality

Southern Kings interm head coach Robbi Kempson
Southern Kings interm head coach Robbi Kempson

With the Currie Cup expected to kick off on October 3, Southern Kings interim head coach Robbi Kempson has issued a Covid-19 warning.

A leaked fixture list has suggested that SA Rugby will resume rugby with a Super Heroes double header at Loftus Versfeld on September 26, with the Lions playing the Stormers and the Bulls facing the Sharks.

After the Super Heroes event, the Currie Cup will kick off minus the Kings, who withdrew for financial reasons.

The Currie Cup will be played over a double round and stretch across the summer until a final on January 16.

This is the proposal that has been sent out to the country’s franchises by SA Rugby, and players will begin working towards this once they have passed Covid-19 tests.

“I would not say the Currie Cup is risky, but Covid is still around and has not left our country,” Kempson said.

“There is a possibility of a player or players getting Covid. That is a reality.

“It is not a given that the competition will be clear of Covid for the entire seven or eight weeks.”

The Kings were voluntarily withdrawn from the Currie Cup because they could not raise the R6.5m they needed to play in the tournament.

Kempson has said the decision to withdraw was correct and that receiving pay cheques was more important at this time than playing in the Currie Cup.

“We had been hoping to do something special in the Currie Cup with our young side.

“After a week off, the Kings now are back on the training field and the idea behind that is quite simple.

“I have had one-on-ones with the players and engaged with them about how they feel.

“If they do get opportunities and loans elsewhere, then they will be fit and ready to play rugby,  which is vitally important for them.

“Obviously we will tone down on the high impact side of things.”

Kempson said a big emphasis would now be placed on individual skill sets.

“From the skills and conditioning base we would like to keep the players fit and ready to play if they get an opportunity.

“We are very fortunate that the facility that we are in at the Fairview sports complex has an indoor facility with mats, so assistant coach Braam van Straaten can do some of his defensive training in there.

“That has really assisted us and Fairview has been excellent for us at this time in view of that we have a gym for ourselves.

“We have also been able to do skills drills indoors with assistant coach Vuyo Zangqa.

“Braam has been doing the defensive alignment and the tackle technique, and we have been using the mats to ensure that our players have a soft landing, so it has been much more technically orientated around individual skills sets.

“I have been very much the same with the scrumming stuff with a single sled with the forwards.

“It has been very productive and we will continue in this manner.”

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