VIDEO: Beast on SA's great URC move
The full impact OF South Africa’s ‘great trek’ from Super Rugby to the United Rugby Championship has not fully manifested itself.
COVID has reduced the four SA franchises to a stop-start entry into Europe.
There were those much-hyped four-week tours north, a three-week break, four Euro teams heading south, only for the entire venture to be thrown into turmoil by a new COVID variant.
The mad scramble by Scarlets, Munster, Zebre and Cardiff to get back home is well documented.
Those games will finally be played on the weekends of March 11 to 13 and March 18 to 20.
That will introduce a period of home matches for the South African teams and finally allow pundits a true gauge of the value of the move.
The Roc Nation President, Michael R. Yormark, feels there will finally be ‘some consistency’ in the URC – after the stop-start beginning to the new competition.
“Hopefully the struggles of COVID are behind us,” Yormark said.
Not only will a whole lot of matches take place on South African soil, but fans will be allowed to see some of the best players from Europe if the stadiums are being opened.
“What is really exciting is that the four [South African] franchises – even with the stop-and-go – they all [still] have a chance to finish in the top eight.
“They are fighting for something and these matches mean something.”
Legendary World Cup-winning Springbok prop Tendai Mtawarira touched on the fact that this is the first real Trans-Hemisphere competition at club/provincial level.
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“I would have relished an opportunity to play in such a competition,” said the retired Mtawarira, a man with 117 Tests to his credit and third on the Bok all-time list.
He added that the challenges of playing in Super Rugby far outweigh the advantages of competing in the URC.
“We had to travel 24 hours just to get to New Zealand,” he said, adding that it always took a week to get over the jet lag.
“Now you get to travel in the same time zone.
“The [type of] game itself suits us as players – the Sharks, Lions, Bulls and Stormers.
“We like to play a forward orientated game and it really works for us.
“It is a great move that we have done.
“Just a pity that I am not playing anymore.”
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