Cheetahs stuck in limbo as Rainbow Cup approaches, but there is hope

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Hawies Fourie
Hawies Fourie
  • The Cheetahs, at least officially, are still stuck in limbo with regards to what international competition they'll be participating in.
  • Franchise mentor Hawies Fourie is confident an official announcement can be made within the next two weeks.
  • SA Rugby also met with team management about the plan to keep the rest of the franchises engaged when the Rainbow Cup starts.

As the four PRO16 franchises breathe a sigh of relief over the confirmation that the Rainbow Cup is indeed taking place, the perenially unlucky Cheetahs are still stuck in limbo.

With the final round of fixtures in the preparation series being played this weekend, the central franchise - as it stands - has no international action to look forward to for the foreseeable future.

It's a sombre reality for the side following their expulsion from PRO Rugby late last year.

"There isn't clarity yet on what the future holds for us," Hawies Fourie, the Cheetahs mentor, said on Friday, ahead of a home fixture against the Eastern Province Elephants on Sunday.

"There are some options on the table, but nothing concrete that we can provide details of yet. It simply hasn't been finalised yet. We're working on it."

Teams:

Cheetahs

15 Craig Barry, 14 Malcolm Jaer, 13 Chris Smit, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Marcell Muller, 10 Reinhardt Fortuin, 9 Ruben de Haas, 8 Andisa Ntsila, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Chris Massyn, 5 Victor Sekekete, 4 Rynier Bernardo, 3 Conrad van Vuuren, 2 Wilmar Arnoldi, 1 Alulutho Tshakweni

Substitutes: 16 Janus Venter, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Aranos Coetzee, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Gideon van Wyk, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Ruan Pienaar, 23 Clayton Blommetjies

Eastern Province

15 Courtney Winnaar, 14 Xolela Payi, 13 Athi Mayinye, 12 Sherwin Slater, 11 Josia Twum-Boafo, 10 Inny Radebe (captain), 9 Ethan Jantjies, 8 Luigy van Jaarsveld, Anele Lungisa, 6 CJ Velleman, 5 Arnold Kleyn, 4 Athenkosi Khetani, 3 Marzuq Maarman, 2 Robin Stevens, 1 Siya Nzuzo

Substitutes: 16 Sithembiso Befile, 17 Lyle Lombaard, 18 Emile Klassen, 19 Ntsika Fisante, 20 Diego Williams, 21 Sachin Toring, 22 Divian Swanepoel, 23 Lennox Holster

Speculation has been rife over the Cheetahs gaining entry back into European competition by potentially participating in the European Intercontinental Shield, something mooted by Rassie Erasmus, the national director of rugby, back in January.

Fourie admitted that he hoped an announcement could be made in the following "seven to 14 days".

Even if the Cheetahs do get a new overseas tournament to participate in, there's the other headache of how they'll be keeping busy in preparing for such an eventuality.

At least there has been some progress on that front, with the franchise understood to have met with SA Rugby earlier on Friday to discuss a platform for fixtures.

There have been reports of the Cheetahs continuing to play against teams such as Griquas and the Pumas.

"There's enough action on the horizon possibly to let us not rest on our laurels," said Fourie.

"We had a meeting with SA Rugby representatives and there is a plan for the rest of the teams who aren't playing in the Rainbow Cup to keep going. We have a reasonable idea of the window those matches will be played in, so there's definitely planning being done on our side."

Kick-off is at 15:00.

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