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Rainbow Cup Preview thread

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If you find preview articles or receive related information please share on this thread.

We cant start making team log predictions, we cant we really start analysing squads until squads becomes finalised. Schedules arent even announced yet so cant even discuss predictions on how x team will do in X city. But our coaches are starting to talk and prepare and this will start giving us all better indications of relative positions approaching the competition. If we can sometime create a TRF campaign preview for each team that would get this discussion going.

For now in my next post i will post a full extract from SA rugby magazine . If they are browsers on this forum they can just message me or a mod to remove the post and provide a link instead.

Also note their confidence in securing champions cup qualification.
 

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Feature: How SA teams are preparing for move north

Published on February 15, 2021

The head coaches of the Lions, Sharks and Stormers as well as Bulls captain Duane Vermeulen look forward to a monumental year in the latest SA Rugby magazine.

It’s going to be a demanding and immense season for South African rugby, writes JON CARDINELLI in our February issue.

The four franchises will feature in a northern ‘Rainbow Cup’ from April. Three of the franchises will play against the British & Irish Lions in July. From October, all four teams are expected to join the Pro16 tournament from the outset. How far along are you with your preparations for these events?

JOHN DOBSON (Stormers): We approached Super Rugby Unlocked and the Currie Cup with the intent to win. That said, we’ve worked hard to develop our gameplan with the middle and long term in mind.

IVAN VAN ROOYEN (Lions): Last year was challenging on a number of fronts. There have been a lot of moving parts and delays, and even as late as December we were still waiting for confirmation of the dates for certain fixtures in 2021. But we have already put some plans in place.

SEAN EVERITT (Sharks): There are several former Cheetahs and Kings players in our ranks who know what it’s like to play up north, but as coaches we’re a bit in the dark. There will be some logistical challenges in terms of where we’ll train and where we’ll stay. Director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and Bok coach Jacques Nienaber will guide us on that, as they have a lot of experience having worked in that part of the world [with Munster in 2016 and 2017].

DUANE VERMEULEN (Vodacom Bulls): If you haven’t adjusted your gameplan by now, you won’t make the necessary changes before the northern hemisphere competition starts. After the Currie Cup final in January, there’s only a short break before we will enter that tournament [the Rainbow Cup, which includes the 12 northern hemisphere teams] … I can’t speak for the other franchises, but at the Bulls we’ve been working at adapting our game. We still have a way to go.

The 2021-22 Pro16 tournament will be staged across South Africa’s summer and the northern hemisphere’s winter. How will that affect your gameplan?

JD: You can’t just have a gameplan tailored to South African conditions. Territory and set-piece dominance will be so important when you’re trying to prevail on a wet night in Wales, Scotland or Ireland. At WP, we’ve been investing a lot in our kicking game since the lockdown was lifted in September.

SE: You could have a situation where you’re playing in the searing heat of Durban and then in the sub-zero temperatures of the UK only seven days later. Teams will have to be versatile and switch gameplans from one match to the next. We might have a more ball-in-hand approach when we play at home and rely more on our set piece and kicking game up north.

IvR: We’ve had a number meetings with coaches based in Europe. It seems like defence, tactical kicking and the set piece are the priority up north. We’ve been phasing that in during the Currie Cup. While we will have to adjust according to the conditions, I don’t think we should change what’s in our DNA. It’s about getting the balance right. A side like Leinster has an outstanding kicking game, but they use all their running and kicking skills to put defending sides under pressure.

DV: We’re fortunate in that Jake White, Arno Botha, Morne Steyn, Marcel van der Merwe and me have all worked in that part of the world before. We know what to expect in terms of the conditions and the mindset. Over there, the local teams don’t play any rugby in their own half. There’s a lot more kicking.

How will the ability to switch between different approaches in the Pro16 dictate the makeup of your playing squad?

JD: Building a squad that can perform across the competitions in 2021will be very important. That’s why we’ve tried to give more youngsters an opportunity in the Currie Cup to prepare them for what comes next. There will be other tournaments such as the U20 competition, the Varsity Cup and the SA Cup to bring players up to speed. We will be monitoring performances across those tournaments with the future in mind.

SE: You need personnel who can excel in both sets of conditions. The type of player who is suited to Super Rugby may not be suited to a competition in the northern hemisphere. Recruitment and development before the Pro16 will be crucial. For example, in the past we may have favoured a more mobile prop for the pace and intensity of Super Rugby. Now we’ve got to take into account that set-piece specialists are key in the northern hemisphere. It’s a real battle at the scrums and lineouts in that part of the world.

South Africa’s senior squads are limited to 45 players. Are there enough senior personnel to cope with what is an unforgiving 2021 schedule and a versatile approach?

JD: It’s a helluva lot of rugby. I can’t see how we’re going to deal with that workload. In terms of our Springboks, it’s a concern when you think that they will go into the Lions series, then straight into the Rugby Championship, then into a full Pro16 tournament from October onwards. The Boks can’t play every game for us and we will need a deep squad to cope with the player management challenges.

IvR: Between the Currie Cup, Pro16 and other competitions, a South African player could feature in more than 40 matches in 2021. It’s a big workload and I suppose each of the teams will have to consider how they are going to manage their players across all the games and tournaments. Rotation will be essential.
SE: You will end up using a lot of players outside your senior squad, namely the younger guys competing a tier or two below. You will have to ensure those other players are prepared for the challenge, though. In the past, I have given youngsters an opportunity in Super Rugby with the future in mind. It’s going to be very tough, however, for the younger players to come straight out of the junior divisions to compete in a tournament like the Pro16 – especially the front rankers and locks, who perhaps haven’t had the time to develop and adjust to the physical demands. Suddenly they will find themselves thrust into a contest with seasoned veterans who thrive in a set-piece battle on a wet night.

How do the European teams cope with this player management? Some of the top clubs boast a host of internationals, yet compete in various tournaments such as the Pro14 and the Champions Cup.

JD: The Pro16 is not the final destination for us and it shouldn’t be long before we join the Champions Cup. We want to see the big European teams playing here in South Africa – that’s what is going to fill the stadiums. That’s the product the powers that be are after.

IvR: If you consider the European model, the top teams seem to have 38 to 45 players in their senior squads. They have a further 10 to 15 academy players available. So it’s a similar system to what we’re using. In Europe, those academy players will play a fair bit over the course of the season. Teams have decide when they are going to play their best players. At a club like Munster, for example, the international players will focus on Test matches, the Champions Cup games and the big Pro14 matches. They won’t play week after week in the Pro14. It’s hard to predict when you will need your best players, though, as the situation can change over the course of the season.

The Pro16 could be a stepping stone to the Champions Cup. What would it mean for you and your team to compete in that tournament?

IvR: We all speak about those dream clashes between the southern and northern hemisphere clubs. How great would it be to see Montpellier playing at Ellis Park, or for us to take on Exeter at Sandy Park or somewhere like Twickenham?

SE: The Champions Cup is right up there with international rugby. You have to qualify for that tournament via the Pro16, but there are a lot of benefits – and the financial boost could certainly help the franchises in South Africa. Again, it’s something we’ve chatted about. Playing at famous venues like Twickenham, and against major English and French clubs, will be a game-changing experience.

The hype around the Test series between the Boks and Lions continues to build. The tour games, however, will represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the coaches and players at the local franchises. Have your preparations already begun?

JD: The first game I ever saw was between the Boks and Lions at Newlands in 1974. It made a big impression on me. Looking ahead to our game this July – the players will be going all out to make that opportunity count. For me as a coach? It will be goosebump stuff. We’re not sure yet if our Boks will be available for that game. If they’re not, a host of younger players could have the chance to make a name for themselves. It’s going to be a fantastic occasion in front of a packed Cape Town Stadium.

SE: Lions tours are massive attractions. There’s already a buzz at the Shark Tank about the game that will be played here. The youngsters in particular are excited to measure themselves against the best players in the northern hemisphere.
 

big ginger 8

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Makes it sound like the South African teams will have to change from a Fijian style to copying Young Munster.

Would be surprised if this actually goes ahead.
 

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Would be surprised if this actually goes ahead.
Was just about to ask that,

Is this home and away games? Would be amazed if that was allowed in as little as two months away - especially as the Oxford vaccine (the most widely used in the UK) doesn't work as well on the South African variant of COVID
 

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Closed doors could have been an option, but all indications for now in local media which is usually dead accurate with their predictions, is that SA teams will be based in Europe for this years Rainbow cup. So in essence double home games for Irish, Welsh , Scottish and Italian based clubs against South African teams. Also talks that Jaguares have applied to be part of the competition using Bilbao in Spain as their home base.

Jaguares a class side, very difficult to beat, forces your clubs to make a big step up to international level because you are essentially playing a squad of 23 passionate internationals. If the quality of competition is something you are concerned about then Jaguares adds to the equasion.

Argentinian side Jaguares lined up to join expanded PRO14
 
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Good luck to the Sharks if this comp starts up and hope the Jags get a spot in the future. All the best.
 

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Would be cool if they based the South african teams in cities that don't get regular games. You could put the stormers in Cork, the sharks in Rome, lions in Aberdeen, bulls in North wales(Wrexham maybe?)
 

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Serious commitment from the SA teams to move away from home for that period. From a fan perspective I hope it works out, logistics will be very difficult I'd expect though.
 

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Looking forward to seeing one off my favourite player again. The Ox!

Its great to have the Ox now that the Beast is retired.

He is a Super rugby style prop. Good for those hard running fields, very mobile and a good carrier. We will probably rotate him with a bigger slower prop when playing in the NH. And utilise him at home more when we will be trying to play teams of their feet in the sweltering Durban humidity.
 

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The below article titled, SA sides chances of playing at home ine Rainbow cup slim. Might be based in Dublin, Dubai or London.

 

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The below article titled, SA sides chances of playing at home ine Rainbow cup slim. Might be based in Dublin, Dubai or London.


I think that article wasn't timed well. As we just went down to level 1 after the President's speech last night. And international travel is allowed again with 5 major airports allowed for international travel. Perhaps we'll get better news in the coming week(s).


One another point. The SA teams had their first warm-up games this past weekend:
Lions 32 - 28 Pumas
Cheetahs 34 - 33 Stormers
Sharks 35 - 10 Griquas
Bulls 87 - 10 EP Kings
 

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I think that article wasn't timed well. As we just went down to level 1 after the President's speech last night. And international travel is allowed again with 5 major airports allowed for international travel. Perhaps we'll get better news in the coming week(s).


One another point. The SA teams had their first warm-up games this past weekend:
Lions 32 - 28 Pumas
Cheetahs 34 - 33 Stormers
Sharks 35 - 10 Griquas
Bulls 87 - 10 EP Kings
I still think it’s relevant. I don’t think the key constraint is what is happening in SA, but rather that the UK has a significant fear of other, more resistant strains entering the country, especially since they have made use of one vaccine that is being shown to be weaker against the SA discovered variant. Anyone flying back from SA has to quarantine in a hotel room for ten days. I don’t see the UK raising those restrictions until at least Julyish at the earliest, or when most of the population has been vaccinated, so about September. If anything more countries will be added to this hotel quarantine restriction.

As much as I’d like there to be proper home fixtures for SA teams, given the kick-off is in April the only way we are participating is if we are NH based.
 

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I still think it’s relevant. I don’t think the key constraint is what is happening in SA, but rather that the UK has a significant fear of other, more resistant strains entering the country, especially since they have made use of one vaccine that is being shown to be weaker against the SA discovered variant. Anyone flying back from SA has to quarantine in a hotel room for ten days. I don’t see the UK raising those restrictions until at least Julyish at the earliest, or when most of the population has been vaccinated, so about September. If anything more countries will be added to this hotel quarantine restriction.

As much as I’d like there to be proper home fixtures for SA teams, given the kick-off is in April the only way we are participating is if we are NH based.
I guess that's fair. Although, it does seem like our numbers dropped considerably in the past 2 weeks. I took my 5-month old son to the Doctor yesterday, and our doctor told us, he hasn't had a Covid-19 case in the last 20 days. Prior to that, he had 40 a day. Our local hospital went from having 180+ Covid patients daily to now less than 30.

I think that second wave did the right thing, and it was to scare the doubters, and those who naturally were defiant and not adhering to the rules.

The talks of a third wave are already making the rounds though, and that is all dependant on what happens in the next 2 weeks since we moved back down to level-1.

As for Vaccines, it seems like we will be getting a very large quantity of the vaccine very soon because we are ordering it from various sources, and also having struck a deal with Johnson & Johnson to produce it locally.

The doctors and medical personnel have already received their vaccines, and it's not a case of getting 2 jabs like they are getting in England. Just one and you're done.
 

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