Time To Down The Lion Cup

RUGBY: Jon Swift

WITH the emphasis so firmly on the trials and tribulations of the South African team in New Zealand, there is cause for a pause and a thought on the future of the Lion Cup which reaches semi-final stage this weekend.

The national side will continue to play tests both home and away and, in doing so, rightly skim off the cream of this country’s rugby talent.

The Super 10 Series — although there must be doubts about its future, especially next year with the World Cup happening — remains the focus of provincial attention.

And the Currie Cup remains the premier provincial competition inside the borders of the new South Africa.

What then, remains the benefit of conducting yet another competition — added to the early season Nite Series — which can only result in yet another meeting in yet another final of two of the top provincial sides?

The Lion Cup has the merit of allowing the lesser provincial lights a chance to match strength — albeit with the initial advantage of a built-in points lead — against the big guns. But even with that in-built jump start, there is seldom any doubt that two of the top sides will come storming through to the final.

True, this weekend gives Transvaal, smarting from the 30-28 Currie Cup defeat at the hands of Eastern Province last Saturday, a chance for revenge in their semi-final against the men from Port Elizabeth.

And it will certainly give Joel Stransky and Western Province, languishing at the foot of the Currie Cup log despite some stirring performances, a chance to show their true worth against high-riding Free State at Newlands.

But surely, the outcome of these two matches with so much happening — both on and off the field — adds up to just too much rugby.

Granted, this has been an exceptionally busy 12 months for the game in this country. But can we really expect any different in the future? I for one doubt it.

In the days when we were isolated and shunned by the rest of the rugby-playing — and non-rugby-playing — world, it made sense to nurture the game wherever possible.

But with the opening of doors, the advent of the Super 10 and tours aplenty, this argument doesn’t really hold water any more.

Some serious thought must go into the future of the Lion Cup. It only serves to add another cog to an already unwieldy machine.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories


Subscribers only

Matrics fail at critical subjects

The basic education minister talks of quality passes achieved by the class of 2020, but a closer look at the results tells a different story

Step-aside guidelines are not about Ace, says Mathews Phosa

The guidelines must be ‘timeless, uniting and not capable of being abused,’ says ANC veteran

More top stories

Sisulu dissolves housing agency board, again

The HDA is once again under administration, and its acting chief executive gets to stay on

Pangolins pushed to the brink of extinction

The trafficking of scales is no longer a ‘niche’ criminal activity, but a serious and organised crime that threatens to make all eight species extinct within 20 years

Durban residents want answers after refinery emission

People living near the refinery were subjected to two hours of dirty smoke from the refinery, the South Durban Environmental Alliance said on Saturday.

Parents ‘key to best grade 12 results’

For the past four years, the matric results in Tshwane South has been the leading district in Gauteng. The formula to success has been involving the parents

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…