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Cheetahs added to Challenge Cup

saulan

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Seems there were some things in the works to keep the Cheetahs active in a top flight tournament. They've now been added to the Challenge Cup with the Lions for next year. I can see some feathers getting ruffled over this, but well done to SARU/Cheetahs for doing what they can to make sure the Cheetahs continues to be viable. They definitely have some strong players, but not really much in terms of depth. I guess it helps that they don't really have any other large tournament to compete in.

I'm waiting for rugby twitter to explode. I'll be in the corner with popcorn.

Article: https://www.epcrugby.com/2022/06/02...-african-clubs-for-2022-23-season-and-beyond/
 
… and it's begun. Fair number of people not happy about the addition (even just the 4 URC teams). Should be a fun watch for the rest of the day
 
Hi everyone

So, a recent article (https://www.news24.com/sport/rugby/...an-ticket-confirmed-from-next-season-20220602) has reported that 5 South African sides will take part in the European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup competitions from 2022/23.

I would like to get everyone's views regarding both the anticipated inclusion (of the Bulls, Stormers, Sharks and even the Lions) and the unexpected addition, the Cheetahs.

Cheetahs
After years in the "wilderness" and away from high-level international franchise rugby, the Cheetahs will finally make a return to competitive rugby. But what sort of preparation can they realistic have building up to that competition? And in what other league will they take part, other than the Currie Cup? Though a relief for the Free State based Union, after holding on to many loyal players, coaches and stakeholders/investors for 2/3 years without PRO/URC rugby, the news will bring mixed reviews globally and in SA.

Will they be competitive enough? Will they further dilute an ever-stretched player pool? Will their inclusion to Europe be automatic or will they have a competition through which they will qualify? ie URC, Top14, Premiership?

Stormers, Bulls, Sharks... and Lions
These URC teams have rightfully earned their places in Europe through their performances, and resulting log positions, and will be looking forward to test themselves against the best of the North. Will they adapt as quickly to French and English climes as they did in the URC? Do they have the depth in personnel and resources to be ***le contenders in the EPCR cups? Can they keep SA's best players on these shores?

PS: I am really happy for the Cheetahs, they deserve some good news and to be part of regular franchise-level rugby. I just fear the worst (repeat of Super 15)
 
Seems there were some things in the works to keep the Cheetahs active in a top flight tournament. They've now been added to the Challenge Cup with the Lions for next year. I can see some feathers getting ruffled over this, but well done to SARU/Cheetahs for doing what they can to make sure the Cheetahs continues to be viable. They definitely have some strong players, but not really much in terms of depth. I guess it helps that they don't really have any other large tournament to compete in.

I'm waiting for rugby twitter to explode. I'll be in the corner with popcorn.

Article: https://www.epcrugby.com/2022/06/02...-african-clubs-for-2022-23-season-and-beyond/
Yeah, it should stir things up.

But rugby wise, will they have another franchise-level competition to take part in addition to the Challenge Cup? I fear that they will be heavily under-cooked during the EPCR competition. Whilst the Lions, Lyon and Gloucester will have the URC, Top 14 and Premiership respectively.

Also, I'm not sure they have the depth or resources to be ***le contenders. But I am happy for them and well done to the administrators/stakeholders that made it possible.
 
Yeah, it should stir things up.

But rugby wise, will they have another franchise-level competition to take part in addition to the Challenge Cup? I fear that they will be heavily under-cooked during the EPCR competition. Whilst the Lions, Lyon and Gloucester will have the URC, Top 14 and Premiership respectively.

Also, I'm not sure they have the depth or resources to be ***le contenders. But I am happy for them and well done to the administrators/stakeholders that made it possible.
They have the Currie Cup to keep their players relatively fit and I think they are playing in an odd Toyota Challenge tournament, but they won't have anywhere near as much game time as everyone else. Potentially then they don't need the depth of there is only one massive tournament they're playing in, but it does make it tricky for them to get the top talent.
 
The URC sides shouldn't be in the competition but I think everyone has resigned themselves to the fact that it's happening/happened

The cheetahs being included is an absolute joke though,
Why bother trying to grow the game in Spain/Romania etc. when you can just bend over for the SARU instead
 
The URC sides shouldn't be in the competition but I think everyone has resigned themselves to the fact that it's happening/happened

The cheetahs being included is an absolute joke though,
Why bother trying to grow the game in Spain/Romania etc. when you can just bend over for the SARU instead

I guess the trouble is the rugby europe super cup has only just started.

Honestly I don't mind SA teams coming in even from the Currie cup if it means that we can have 3 proper tiers of europreanish rugby with winners getting automatic entry to the cup above.

I'm also for the challenge cup being expanded to include quite a few more teams.
 
I can't be bothered with the details ot arithmetic, but there are suggestions the Challenge Cup being expanded for the Cheetahs may create room for one or two additional sides. Presumably either from the Rugby Europe Super Cup or from this Cheetahs Intercontinetal Shield / Toyota Challenge.

There had better be a pathway for Europe outside of the 6N unions, but despite being called the "European" PCR I wouldn't bet a penny on it.
 
The current format is awful. I hope they go back to the 4 team pools like we had before the pandemic
 
can see arguments for and against the URC Saffa sides being in Europe. As a neutral I am pretty excited for them to be there next year.

Cheetahs being invited kind of irks me. They weren't eligible for Europe while playing in Pro14 but now they get to play in Europe? They weren't even the best non-URC side in the Currie Cup last year.

I wouldn't mind them having an established pathway from the Currie Cup to Challenge Cup but this just seems like an ad hoc decision.

Disappointing to see no announced spots for RESC or any of the European top domestic divisions. I hope it came down to scheduling rather than EPCR just not wanting them.
 
can see arguments for and against the URC Saffa sides being in Europe. As a neutral I am pretty excited for them to be there next year.

Cheetahs being invited kind of irks me. They weren't eligible for Europe while playing in Pro14 but now they get to play in Europe? They weren't even the best non-URC side in the Currie Cup last year.

I wouldn't mind them having an established pathway from the Currie Cup to Challenge Cup but this just seems like an ad hoc decision.

Disappointing to see no announced spots for RESC or any of the European top domestic divisions. I hope it came down to scheduling rather than EPCR just not wanting them.
The Cheetahs have been dominating the Currie Cup this season.

Almost went unbeaten for the whole league stage of the Currie Cup, then lost a freak match against the Pumas.

Ruan Pienaar and Francois Steyn have been brilliant leaders for the team of youngsters, I think the lack of an Internasional League running alongside The challenge cup for the Cheetahs, like the other SA squads have to contend with in terms of their squad depth with the URC will benefit the Cheetahs, they can keep a small squad and essentially become a Cup-style team, the number of matches will be perfect for guys like Steyn who wants to perform but is also in contention to make his fourth World Cup, and very likely to be picked by Boks, Ruans Career will be extended.

They might even be able to sign some players from weaker SA teams, and returning Veterans in the mould of Jannie and Bismarck du Plessis. The youth conveyor belt has never been a problem for them.

I know you think the real problem is that they skipped other clubs in Europe that should have been granted the first chance at qualification due to being in official European leagues, and should get preference if there was to be an expansion. This is understandable.
 
I know you think the real problem is that they skipped other clubs in Europe that should have been granted the first chance at qualification due to being in official European leagues, and should get preference if there was to be an expansion. This is understandable.
not really. I just don't get why they are giving out an invitation to the challenge Cup. The Cheetahs would certainly be more competitive than the top Spanish or Italian club so they will be fine there. I think it would be weird if they just randomly invited the 6th place team from last year's Spanish division of honor as well. Griquas and Pumas beat the Cheetahs on merit in the most recent completed version of the contest. If they announced that the top non-URC from this year's Currie Cup would qualify then that would make a lot of sense.

You have some nerve to say that you know what I think.
 
You have some nerve to say that you know what I think.
It wasn't meant like that, I tried to pose what I would think is the most obvious reason for resistance.

I don't subscribe to your suggestion that they are somehow not the best next choice even by Currie Cup Standards as they are doing well in the Currie Cup.

Screenshot_20220602_203611.jpg


All I am saying is if you take your own criteria of allowing the best SA non URC squad then they have a good chance to be that. The Bulls are playing their best URC squad in the Currie Cup.


I must say though it's very gracious of the Challenge cup to hand out this invitation to the Cheetahs, they did not Owe SARU anything and we could claim no legal high ground. This was fully in their hands, SARU could only adopt the role of beggar.
 
All I'm saying is that let it be settled on the field. The Griquas and Pumas still have a chance to win the whole thing. It's sport; weird thing happens. I'd put my money on the Cheetahs to finish highest of the three but who knows?

It would add some worldwide intrigue to the potential 2/3 matchup and we would only have to wait an additional 29 days to find out who gets the spot. I just think the pros of awarding it to the best non-URC side outweigh the pros of just giving it to the Cheetahs.
 
Can we just take a moment to acknowledge that whatever his personal failings, Jurie Roux can play his hand pretty damn well. If the Welsh do drop a side in the URC I imagine Bloemfontein will be announced as a new Welsh region. :p

To get the Cheetahs in the Challenge Cup isn't far off getting the Boks in the 6N.
 
They have the Currie Cup to keep their players relatively fit and I think they are playing in an odd Toyota Challenge tournament, but they won't have anywhere near as much game time as everyone else. Potentially then they don't need the depth of there is only one massive tournament they're playing in, but it does make it tricky for them to get the top talent.
I feel they will still need the depth in case of injuries. Your last point is so true, will they be able to recruit and keep top talent in Bloem?

Also, not playing at Franchise-level (URC, Super Rugby, Prem, Top 14) regularly will be a major disadvantage for them in terms of experience at that level. They need to be part of some international (franchise) competition (not talking about Currie Cup or Toyota Challenge Cup)
 
All I'm saying is that let it be settled on the field. The Griquas and Pumas still have a chance to win the whole thing. It's sport; weird thing happens. I'd put my money on the Cheetahs to finish highest of the three but who knows?

It would add some worldwide intrigue to the potential 2/3 matchup and we would only have to wait an additional 29 days to find out who gets the spot. I just think the pros of awarding it to the best non-URC side outweigh the pros of just giving it to the Cheetahs.
I hear you, some competition for qualification never hurt anyone. I think the decision to have the Cheetahs play in Europe instead of the Griquas/Pumas is due mainly to the 2 following reasons.

Firstly, the Cheetahs are regarded as a "Franchise team" that competed in franchise-level rugby (Super Rugby) and the Griquas & Pumas aren't franchise, rather just domestic/provincial. I'm sure you understand the difference.

Secondly, SARU voted on the matter just before confirming SA's partnership with PRO Rugby. see link https://thestormers.com/saru-members-vote-to-seek-northern-hemisphere-future/ . Meaning that SARU had effectively promised the Cheetahs another top international franchise-level rugby competition.
 
I'd positively welcome teams from other European countries into the cup competitions if they are good enough.

But that's it.

Boks coming to a 6N near you.
 
I hear you, some competition for qualification never hurt anyone. I think the decision to have the Cheetahs play in Europe instead of the Griquas/Pumas is due mainly to the 2 following reasons.

Firstly, the Cheetahs are regarded as a "Franchise team" that competed in franchise-level rugby (Super Rugby) and the Griquas & Pumas aren't franchise, rather just domestic/provincial. I'm sure you understand the difference.

Secondly, SARU voted on the matter just before confirming SA's partnership with PRO Rugby. see link https://thestormers.com/saru-members-vote-to-seek-northern-hemisphere-future/ . Meaning that SARU had effectively promised the Cheetahs another top international franchise-level rugby competition.
that's not new information
 

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