Rainbow Cup is Boks' training run for B&I Lions
REACTION: The Springboks will use the Rainbow Cup to prepare for the arrival of the British and Irish Lions in July.
Rassie Erasmus, South Africa’s Director of Rugby, has requested that all available Springboks play throughout the Rainbow Cup – starting next month.
It was confirmed on Friday that the Rainbow Cup will kick off on April 24 and run through to the June 19 Final.
It features the Pro14 teams from Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Italy, as well as South Africa’s four Super franchises – the Bulls, Sharks, Lions and Stormers.
While the first three round will feature domestic derbies, rounds four to six will allow South Africa’s players to test themselves against a number of the B&I Lions players.
Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White confirmed that there was a directive that the home-based Boks must get game time in the newly-established cross-hemisphere competition.
“We have our Springboks available till the end of the Rainbow Cup,” White told @rugby365com, when asked about the plans for the return of national team players.
He was speaking after the Sharks trounced his Bulls 45-12 in the last round of the Preparation Series in Durban on Friday.
Captain Siyamthanda Kolisi was one of several World Cup-winning Springboks in the Sharks Tank – making his debut for the Durban-based outfit.
“After that [the Rainbow Cup] the [Bok] players will join the national set-up,” White said from Durban.
“The message that I got from [SA Rugby Director of Rugby] Rassie [Erasmus] is that he would like them all to play.
“He would like them to be ready for the B&I Lions series.
“We now have to get back, work hard and prepare the players for the B&I Lions series,” White added.
Kolisi scored a try as he made a winning debut for the Sharks.
The 29-year-old flank, who led South Africa to a 32-12 victory over England in the 2019 World Cup final in Japan, moved to the Sharks last month after 11 years with his only previous team, the Stormers.
Other World Cup Boks in the Sharks team on Friday included Sibusiso Nkosi and Lukhanyo Am (the Sharks captain).
During the Preparation Series, the SA franchises mainly expanded their dept – giving young and fringe players game time.
However, the Boks will now feature more prominently – especially when the Rainbow Cup gets underway next month.
RAINBOW CUP FIXTURES to follow below video:
April 24, 2021
Bulls v Lions
Stormers v Sharks
Ulster v Connacht
Leinster v Munster
Benetton v Glasgow Warriors
Edinburgh v Zebre Rugby Club
Ospreys v Cardiff Blues
Dragons v Scarlets
May 1, 2021 (EPCR semifinal weekend)
Stormers v Bulls
Sharks v Lions
May 8, 2021
Connacht v Leinster
Munster v Ulster
Zebre v Benetton
Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh
Cardiff Blues v Dragons
Scarlets v Ospreys
May 8, 2021
Bulls v Sharks
Lions v Stormers
May 15, 2021
Munster v Connacht
Leinster v Ulster
Benetton v Zebre
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors
Scarlets v Cardiff Blues
Dragons v Ospreys
ROUND 4: Weekend of May 29
ROUND 5: Weekend of June 5
ROUND 6: Weekend of June 12
FINAL: Weekend of June 19