Rainbow Cup: SA teams go 'full metal jacket'
The Springboks only started the trickle back towards the end of last months, but from this week there will be a flood of Green and Gold in South Africa’s stages.
As @rugby365com reported last month, the Boks 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.
Stormers coach John Dobson revealed that the time for ‘building depth’ is well and truly over and they will field their best team every week.
Dobson said their plans and structures are in place for the rest of the year – even taking into consideration the absence of the Boks during the Currie Cup and early stages of the new Pro16 competition.
“We have gone through what the team will look like for this competition [the Rainbow Cup],” the coach said, adding: “Our approach is to do as well as we can.”
Having had a ‘license’ to “develop” young players during the Preparations Series earlier this year, all the franchises must now give their Springboks as much game time as possible – with a view to the arrival of the British and Irish Lions in July.
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“This, the Rainbow Cup, will be a performance competition for us.
“We owe it to the national cause – with nine players in the recent [Springbok] alignment camp – we have to give them as much rugby as possible. That is the point of this competition.
“We know what our Currie Cup squad looks like.
“It is a very exciting Currie Cup squad without them [ the Boks], which is a credit to the dept we have built here [at the Stormers].
“We know the first couple of months of the Pro16 we will be without our Springboks, if they play in the Rugby Championship and year-end tour.”
He added there are a couple of players they are looking at to bolster the squad for the periods when the Boks are on international duty.
“For this competition, it is the full metal jacket,” Dobson said of the next seven weeks of Rainbow Cup action.
“Week in and week out we will build consistency and coherence. We will also give these players [Springboks] every chance to get match fit and prove themselves on the international stage.
“We will be choosing our best team every week.”
Confirmation of the well-documented approach to the Rainbow Cup means the next seven weeks will see a series of high-octane derbies that will be good value and great entertainment.
The revised schedule will see three consecutive ‘Super Saturdays’, starting this Saturday, May 1, with encounters in Cape Town and Pretoria.