At long last, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, a sign that live rugby is fast approaching and fans, coaches and players all share a sense of excitement at the impending action.
With dates for the various competitions announced, starting with this weekend’s clash with the Vodacom Bulls, there is certainty about the remaining season. In the other match of the double-header at Loftus in Pretoria, the Emirates Lions and DHL Stormers will also be in action on Vodacom Super Fan Saturday.
“It’s going to be great to play again, to see the players do their thing on the playing field and give the supporters something to watch and hopefully enjoy,” admits Cell C Sharks assistant coach Brent Janse van Rensburg.
“There is certainly plenty of excitement as we near this point, but even with all the challenges we’ve faced, I think everyone has handled them really well. In life, we are faced with numerous challenges and it’s fair to say this was a unique one, but in getting through this, people grow and learn lessons out of it.”
SA Rugby has announced two competitions what will take place between October and January, with the Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked tournament taking place between 10 October and 21 November, featuring seven teams: the Cell C Sharks Vodacom Bulls,, Emirates Lions, DHL Stormers, Toyota Cheetahs, Tafel Lager Griquas and Phakisa Pumas.
All log points will then be carried forward into the second round – the Currie Cup from 28 November to 9 January 2021 – which will culminate in semi-finals (16 January) and a final on 23 January next year.
All the teams will face each other home and away, and will enjoy two byes during the four months.
“The last few weeks have given us the opportunity to take training to where we want it to be, to best prepare the players in the squad for the fast-approaching season,” said Janse van Rensburg.
“The guys are in good spirits, training has been very good with great intensity.”
Given the success at Vodacom Super Rugby level in the shortened competition, it would make sense that the Cell C Sharks aren’t going to fix what isn’t broken. He admits that it’s not necessary to tamper with a winning recipe.
“During Super Rugby we had a really good balance going, respecting all areas of play. We were successful and to try reinvent the wheel could just spell trouble, so it’s really just a case of being better at what we were doing within our game model.”