VIDEO: Bulls address Rainbow Cup uncertainty
WATCH as Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White answers some prickly posers – including the uncertainty surrounding the Rainbow Cup.
@rugby365com revealed this past weekend that the cross-border competition is in doubt, after the South African franchises were told not to proceed with their visa applications.
It is believed there are problems with clearance from the English and Welsh governments – who have placed South Africa on the red lists, because of fears over SA’s COVID-19 strain.
It is meant to feature the Pro14 teams from Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Italy, as well as South Africa’s four Super franchises – the Bulls, Sharks, Lions and Stormers.
Fixtures were released this week for the cross-border competition – scheduled to kick off on April 24 and run through to the June 19 Final.
While the first three rounds are scheduled to feature domestic derbies, rounds four to six will see the South African teams face their European counterparts.
SA Rugby remains adamant that nothing is final and they are in ‘vigorous’ discussions with all authorities – locally and in the United Kingdom – to have the games take place as scheduled.
However, the decision is out of SA Rugby’s control, as there is currently a travel ban on South Africans entering the UK.
Alternative options and bio-bubbles are being considered, because if the Rainbow Cup doesn’t take place, it would have a crippling financial effect on SA Rugby in the long term.
White said the Bulls are planning for the local games, as those will go ahead, and look at the international matches later.
“We are set to play the Lions at Loftus [Versfeld] next Saturday [April 24],” White said on the Bulls’ weekly social media interview session – “No Holds Barred‘.
“That is all we are focusing on.
“If it is meant to be, then so be it.
“If it is not, then at least we know if it does happen we will be prepared.”
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The Bulls boss also addressed a number of other questions.
He described the arrival of seasoned France-based utility forward Jacques du Plessis as a “very good acquisition” for the Bulls.
The coach added Du Plessis, 27, will play at lock, flank and No.8.
“That is the reason we got him,” White said, adding: “He is versatile and a bit older now.
“He has grown as a player.
“I was lucky enough to have coached him as a youngster at Montpellier.”
He added that ‘versatility’ remains an important aspect of the team.
“I like to try different players in different positions.
“Given that we are allowed only 45 players in the squad, the more you can get players to adapt to different positions, they get a greater appreciation for what their role is in their first-choice position.”