Sharks 'saddened' by Super Rugby Unlocked conclusion
REACTION: After the relentless work to get the South African domestic competition underway, it is certainly a very unprecedented manner to conclude proceedings.
The Super Rugby Unlocked trophy is well on its way to the Bulls’ headquarters in Pretoria following the cancellation of the competition’s third match.
SA Rugby, on Tuesday, confirmed that the Sharks and Stormers match in Durban has been cancelled following positive tests among the Sharks’ forwards.
It’s expected the match will be declared a draw in correlation with the previous cancelled match between the Lions and Cheetahs while a decision on Lions versus Pumas match is still pending.
With a draw, the Sharks and Stormers will each receive two log points and will conclude the tournament with 19 points, respectively.
The Bulls superior points difference (compared to second-placed Stormers) will see them be crowned Super Rugby Unlocked champions despite their upcoming fixture against the Pumas.
The Bulls are deserving of the inaugural title given their dominance during the tournament, beating the Sharks (41-14) and Stormers (39-6).
For the Stormers, who went nine weeks without any positive COVID-19 cases, it is certainly a bitter pill to swallow.
Speaking to reporters in the wake of the cancellation, Stormers assistant coach Dawie Snyman revealed they have to focus on the job at hand, the Currie Cup.
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“We started to get momentum as a team and obviously we felt if we continue playing, we were just going to get better,” Snyman said.
“However, it’s out of our control and there is nothing we can do about it, we just have to prepare for the Currie Cup next week.”
The Sharks issued a statement, stating they are ‘saddened’ by the cancellation.
“[We] the Sharks are obviously saddened by the cancellation of the match as we looked forward to hosting the Stormers,” the Sharks statement read.
“We stringently follow the protocols set out by SARU and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), and line with that protocol this decision was best for everyone concerned.
“Safety remains our number one priority and those that have tested positive in the team are isolating and will be monitored by our Team Doctor.
“The Sharks remain committed to fielding a competitive team for the start of the Currie Cup next week.”
After this weekend’s games, the teams will switch to the Currie Cup with points set to be carried over from Super Rugby Unlocked.