Coach John Dobson and his Stormers were dealt a sickening blow on Tuesday as their Super Rugby Unlocked match against the Sharks on Saturday was called off because of Covid-19.
A statement released by the South African Rugby Union reads: “The Sharks’ match with the Stormers in Durban on Saturday has been cancelled following positive tests among the Sharks’ tighthead props.
“It follows the cancellation of the Lions’ matches against the Cheetahs and Pumas.”
In the event of the first cancellation, Saru decided to split the log points between the Lions and the Cheetahs, despite the former being at fault for the match not taking place.
In that case, the Sharks and the Stormers get two points each, meaning the Bulls will in all likelihood be crowned champions on Saturday when they face the Pumas.
With a crucial two-point buffer and a superior points difference entering the final round, the Bulls will have to lose that match – which was moved from Friday to allow the Pumas a training session after their isolation period – by a points difference of more than 42 to drop below the Stormers, currently in second.
It's not the finish the Capetonians had in mind, with assistant coach Dawie Snyman saying: “We just started getting momentum as a team and if we keep playing as a team, we will get better.
“There’s nothing we can do about it, so we’re just focusing on what we can finish up this week and start getting ready for next week.”
Dobson and his team have always maintained that winning the Currie Cup final in January is the ultimate goal.
They will continue that quest when they, as Western Province, host the Blue Bulls at the current home of Cape rugby, Newlands, in the first round of this competition next week.