Super Rugby

2 Stormers squads to contest 'Covid Cup' at Newlands

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John Dobson (Gallo Images)
John Dobson (Gallo Images)
  • Two Stormers squads will square off in three chukkas of 20 minutes each at Newlands on Friday.
  • Head coach John Dobson said it will be full contact action with the victors walking away with the 'Covid Cup'.
  • Dobson said getting match practice was imperative before the season-proper starts.

The Stormers will return to competitive action on Friday when two squads tackle each other in the 'Covid Cup' at Newlands.

This was revealed by head coach John Dobson in a virtual press conference on Thursday afternoon.

"We're playing for the Covid Cup tomorrow. There are two teams playing three chukkas (20 minutes each)," Dobson said.

"It's the Boulders Beach Penguins against the Devils Peak Dassies. [We've] basically been divided into two squads of about close to 30 players."

Dobson said there will be SA Rugby-accredited referees involved and the chukkas will be "full bone on bone contact."

This follows Wednesday's announcement that the South African rugby season will resume on 26 September with a double-header at Loftus Versfeld, with the Stormers scheduled to tackle the Lions and the Bulls taking on the Sharks on 'Super Fan Saturday'.

There will also be a 'Springbok Showdown' at Newlands the following weekend where Springbok Green and Springbok Gold outfits will square off, before the season-proper starts in the form of a seven-team local competition on 10 October.

"We just felt we can't go into games at altitude against a Super Rugby team without having some really good match simulation, so that's what the chukkas tomorrow are about," Dobson added.

"I think it's good for us to do it in front of an empty stadium because we're going to have to get used to that. It's a nice surface."

Dobson said the two squads are well balanced.

"We mixed everybody up, they trained separately the last two days, they've got their own captains, the coaching staff's been divided."

Assistant coaches Hanyani Shimange (Penguins) and Rito Hlungwani (Dassies) will be the two head coaches on Friday.

"We're trying to make it a bit of fun, giving the guys something to enjoy, but most importantly, getting their bodies ready for next Saturday," Dobson continued.

Dobson also revealed that there have been no recent positive Covid-19 cases in the Stormers squad.

"We're training with a big squad of almost 60 guys. Obviously the training has increased dramatically - changing from the groups of five a few weeks ago - so to get away with zero (positive) tests over the last few weeks is brilliant, so we're really chuffed with where we are. The medical staff have done a good job.

"With those friendlies next week... playing against some familiar foes... has brought a massive amount of energy to the group. It feels much more goal and purpose driven."

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