VIDEO: Cheetahs call off match over Gauteng violence
BREAKING NEWS: The Currie Cup match between the Lions and Cheetahs – scheduled for Ellis Park this weekend – has been cancelled as a result of concerns over the ongoing violence in South Africa.
Harold Verster, Managing director of the Free State Cheetahs, confirmed that the Bloemfontein-based team was not willing to travel to Johannesburg for Saturday’s fixture.
He cited the ongoing violence that has ravaged parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng as one of the main reasons.
“We took into account the safety and security of players travelling in or around Gauteng,” Verster told @rugby365com.
“The matches between the Lions and Cheetahs can’t be rescheduled, due to a congested Currie Cup program,” the Cheetahs boss added.
He said that SA Rugby will make a final call on the process going forward, adding that they remain hopeful their encounter with Western Province – in Bloemfontein next week – will go ahead as scheduled.
Lions Company Chief Executive Rudolf Straeuli revealed that his team was even willing to travel to Bloemfontein in order to play the game.
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“We are obviously in difficult times and these are not decisions that have been made lightly,” Straeuli told a virtual media briefing.
“We want to play and fulfil our obligations,” he added.
“We were willing to travel to Bloemfontein to play the fixture there.
“The problem at moment is that there is uncertainty with some teams and areas, but we are quite safe at Ellis Park.
“We are quite fortunate to have a good security partner.
“I can stay that all of our players and coaching staff have been at work.
Straeuli said a call on points allocation is yet to be made – given that the Lions were willing to travel.
“It is difficult times and I would say that SA Rugby has got to make a decision on that,” he said.
“It’s unfortunately not for us as the participants to make a decision on that.”
The Lions’ next scheduled match is against Griquas, also at Ellis Park, on Wednesday, July 21.
SA Rugby also confirmed the cancellation.
“Due to the situation of unrest currently being experienced in Gauteng, two matches scheduled to take place in Johannesburg on Saturday have been cancelled or postponed,” a statement from SA Rugby said.
“The Currie Cup match between the Lions and the Cheetahs has been called off.
“A decision on the result and log points will be made at a later stage.”
Also called off is the Women’s First Division Final, between the Golden Lions and Free State – also scheduled for Ellis Park.
A new date for this match will be communicated in due course.
The latest cancellation follows after SA Rugby announced earlier this week that the planned matches between the Griquas and the Bulls, as well as the Sharks and Pumas, were called off.