Following the announcement of a straightforward double-round Rainbow Cup SA last week, I’m convinced that top-tier domestic in South Africa will hit a new low during this tournament.
I’m not trying to be a prophet of doom here, I’m just disappointed at the lack of innovation by the guys running the game of rugby in South Africa. That, in my books, has led to the failure to create a stir among fans ahead of this tournament.
People are sick of domestic derbies and those who read last week’s column will know that, like other fans, I’ve been dreaming of ways to make the game more exciting.
Anyway, I haven’t stopped dreaming.
And that brings me to the stepchildren of South Africa – the Cheetahs.
Let’s be honest, with us not being able to compete internationally, all games played domestically up until the arrival of the British and Irish Lions – scheduled for July – are for players to get match-ready and for outsiders to force their way into the team.
As a fan, I couldn’t care less about watching players playing to get match fit for when it really counts. Instead I want to see hungry rugby players and I believe there are a number of them in South Africa that might just upset the applecart.
Hear my out. The Cheetahs, Elephants, Pumas and Griquas – South Africa’s other franchises – have been left hanging with Rainbow Cup SA just catering for the big four of the Stormers, Lions, Bulls and the Sharks.
What I’d suggest is an Outsider Cup. That’s what I want to call it also – because it involves outsiders.
The Cheetahs deserve to play on their own, and so do Griquas and the Pumas.
The Elephants have proven that they need help and I have suggested in the past that fringe players of the big four should be loaned out to strengthen coach Peter de Villiers’ side. What we want is a strength versus strength situation.
And here my two wildcards – the SA U20 squad and the Varsity Cup Dream Team – come in.
How about those six teams competing in the Outsider Cup, with the winner then taking on the winner of the Rainbow Cup SA?
After that, you can even pick an Outsider XV to play against the Rainbow Cup SA XV and have the national team play against them in a Tri-series. That way, I bet you’ll have a number of “second-tier” players with a lot to play for and we might even get at least one Bok bolter for the British and Irish Lions series.
Now I read somewhere that Saru are planning something for the Cheetahs and their forgotten mates, but mix it up by adding the Varsity Cup manne too and have one big Bok trial.
With the team having last played in 2019, I’ve already forgotten who our starting XV is… and levelling the playing field like this, might just have fans pencilling a whole new look for the world champions.
You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.