Bulls' Jake White (Gallo Images)

Bulls’ Jake White (Gallo Images)

  • Jake White says SA rugby must do everything in its power to try and keep the Currie Cup prestigious.
  • His Bulls were engaged in a thrilling match against the Cheetahs that once again showcased the tournament’s value.
  • But the realities of the professional game means that mission will become increasingly difficult.

He readily acknowledges that he doesn’t have answers, but Jake White is adamant that South African rugby needs to continue searching for a way to keep the Currie Cup prominent.

The hallowed domestic tournament has been under pressure for years due to countless format changes and a shifting, congested playing calendar, leading to complaints that it has become watered down.

But the stirring spirit of the Cheetahs, who gave White’s Bulls a real fight in a 39-36 thriller at Loftus on Saturday, as well as Western Province’s late show to sneak into the semi-finals attested to its enduring value.

READ | WP coach Dobson ‘proud’ after Currie Cup heroics: ‘We played with real desperation’

“I don’t know the answer on what needs to be done,” the former Springbok coach said.

“But I will say that we as South Africans need to do everything in our power to keep the Currie Cup a presitge competition. It would be sad for us to ever water it down or never take it as seriously as it should be taken.

“I remember as a younger man the calibre of players who played in the tournament and what it meant to those legends. All those memories can’t be dimished.”

However, the commercial realities of the game – especially in times of a pandemic – means that, at least in the local context, competitions with international flavour will now always carry more weight.

“I’m not sure how it’s going to be managed,” said White.

“We have to remember that it’s a really difficult situation, trying time for all administrators. You can imagine with Covid and no rugby, trying to fit in a northern hemisphere tournament. The complexity and detail that needed to go into the United Rugby Championship schedule to accommodate international windows has been immense.

“But as an old-school guy, I hope we can find solutions.”

Meanwhile, White isn’t perturbed by facing Province in next week’s last four clash – something he didn’t know at the time of his media engagement.

“We’ve got to be good enough to beat any team that comes to Loftus. If we start planning for playing against this or that team, then the competition have the credence it deserves,” he said.

“We’ve got a semi-final, possibly a final, a week off and then Leinster in Dublin. We don’t have to worry about who we’re playing at home, there are a lot of bigger games coming up and if we’re not good enough to win any of the teams that come to Loftus, then we can’t be champions.”  

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