CAPE TOWN – Despite the uncertainty around the Rainbow Cup, Stormers coach John Dobson on Tuesday confirmed that it’s been business as usual on the training grounds ahead of their competition opener against the Sharks at Cape Town Stadium on Friday.
While the question marks around South Africa’s participation in the Rainbow Cup have been hovering for some time now, reports emerged on Tuesday indicating that SA’s involvement in the competition was set to be scratched due to ongoing logistical issues and that the weekend’s matches would be called off.
This comes after news emerged a week ago that the SA teams were told to suspend their visa applications as the Rainbow Cup appeared to be in jeopardy, with issues arising around the away matches.
The first three matches of the Rainbow Cup were set to take place in South Africa, before the four ‘Super’ teams – the Stormers, Lions, Sharks, and Bulls, headed abroad to contest rounds four to six.
Dobson, however, speaking during a media briefing along with WP Rugby chairman Ebrahim Rasool on Tuesday, said that the Stormers were still training and preparing as if Friday’s clash against the Sharks was going ahead.
“We know there is going to be some serious rugby between now and the British & Irish Lions. There is a meeting this afternoon about the exact format of the competition,” Dobson said.
“We had a full training session, we just finished it. It was a good session. We are waiting to hear about Friday night.”
Rasool added that the reward of hosting the British & Irish Lions is a rainbow that will make these chaotic and uncertain times worth it.
“I think the incentive of the British & Irish Lions is a defining feature for us, and it will see us through all this uncertainty.
“I have seen the guys train…for me, they have been training at higher than match intensity. The uncertainty has not made them slack. I think we have a squad and a coach that have embraced the uncertainty, it’s the conditions of the times and we just need them to be ready for whatever.”
If South Africa’s participation in the Rainbow Cup is in fact scratched, probably the most likely approach would then be another domestic competition of some kind. This would be the fourth one after Super Rugby Unlocked, the Currie Cup, and the Preparation Series.