- Local rugby is set to make a return at the end of September.
- A unique Springbok Showdown will take place on 3 October with teams picked by Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber.
- Following that, a local competition between seven franchises will take place with the final set for January.
Rugby supporters in South Africa will finally have something to cheer as the sport is set to return to action at the end of this month.
The season will resume on 26 September with a double-header at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, when the Bulls take on the Sharks, and the Lions battle the Stormers on Super Fan Saturday.
But it's the Springbok Showdown, a unique match that will pit the best local stars and top, up-and-coming talent against each other on 3 October that will have the fans talking.
Springbok assistant coaches Mzwandile Stick and Deon Davids will coach Springbok Green versus Springbok Gold for the match at Newlands in Cape Town with Rassie Erasmus (director of rugby) and Jacques Nienaber (Springbok coach) acting as the two team commissioners.
The selection process will take the form of a draft pick from an enlarged squad of 60 players with Green and Gold team bosses taking alternate turns in an old-style ‘school yard pick’ to assemble their match-day squads of 25 players each.
The enlarged squad from which the teams will be picked is set to be announced live on Supersport this Saturday before the crucial draft pick next week.
Erasmus believes this unique match is the perfect opportunity to get the players back on the field following the lockdown in South Africa.
“This will not only be an opportunity to see the best of the best available in South Africa square off against each other in what promises to be something never seen before, but it will also provide the players with another valuable opportunity to shake of the rust and get the legs and lungs going after not playing any rugby in the last six months,” said Erasmus.
“The players will be encouraged to showcase their skills – individually and in their teams – and while it will be full-on, we’re expecting to see a highly competitive match of quality players against each other.
“It will be exciting – from the moment we select the squads, with a number of twists thrown in for good measure – through the build-up to the match and the actual encounter in Cape Town.”
Following the Springbok Showdown, a double round local competition, between seven franchises, kicks off on the weekend of 10 October.
Details of the local competition, with each of the teams facing the others home and away and every side enjoying two byes during the competition, will be released in the days to come.
In what is another first for South African rugby, the local competition will continue over Christmas and New Year and will culminate in semi-finals (16 January) and a final on 23 January next year.
“This is a very exciting plan for the next few months, considering all the challenges we’ve faced this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and it will be great to see our best local rugby heroes battle it out from October to January,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.
“We’ve worked very hard with government, SuperSport, our various sponsors and the franchises to get to this point and it’s great to know we can now look forward to brilliant provincial rugby being played in the next couple of months."
Roux confirmed that spectators will not be allowed to attend matches.