John Dobson questions validity of single round Currie Cup

08 July 2019 - 17:20 By Craig Ray
Western Province Currie Cup head coach John Dobson.
Western Province Currie Cup head coach John Dobson.
Image: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

Western Province Currie Cup coach John Dobson‚ who will also coach the Stormers in the Super Rugby in 2020‚ has questioned the value of a single round competition this year.

At most teams will have eight games in the tournament if they make the Currie Cup final.

Given that the Currie Cup has devolved into a development tournament for Super Rugby‚ Dobson feels this is too short.

But at Western Province there is also pressure to win the competition – Dobson revealed that he was told by the board winning the tournament was a priority.

“If the Currie Cup is our premier domestic competition it shouldn’t be a single round‚” Dobson said.

“If it’s a primary developmental competition for Super Rugby it needs to be over a double round.

“You want to be giving players on the edge a chance to play‚ but with only six home games there is just no room to manoeuvre at the moment.

“Western Province always wants to win the Currie Cup. The board has made that clear.

"The financial pressures that we are under‚ and all unions for that matter‚ it’s important to host play-offs.

“Because of that I won’t be able to wear my Super Rugby cap and rotate players with a view to Super Rugby.

"We might try change our playing style and technical aspects we want to refine‚ which we will focus on during this campaign‚ but player rotation won’t be easy.”

Dobson was concerned that the tournament was in decline in terms of popularity but he also saw some potential benefits for the shorter competition.

“There are only three home games and if you take unions like Griquas‚ who aren’t in Super Rugby‚ it must be a hard sell to sponsors and potential suite holders when you only have three significant home games‚” Dobson said.

“We had decent crowds last year because of the style of rugby we played. But poor attendances are a countrywide problem.

“Hopefully given the passion for the Currie Cup in this region‚ and if we play the same style‚ the crowds will come.

"When we hosted the final here last year it wasn’t sold out and neither was it at King’s Park the year before. It’s definitely a competition on the wane.

“But the one upside is that the Currie Cup ends on September 7‚ which gives all the Super Rugby franchises a chance for some proper rest and recovery‚ which will get some energy back in the squad for next year.”