SA Rugby considering a State of Origin three-match series for later this year?

14 July 2020 - 14:48 By Liam Del Carme
Cheetahs singing the National Anthem during the Currie Cup, Final match between Toyota Free State XV and Xerox Golden Lions XV at Toyota Stadium on September 07, 2019 in Bloemfontein, South Africa.
Cheetahs singing the National Anthem during the Currie Cup, Final match between Toyota Free State XV and Xerox Golden Lions XV at Toyota Stadium on September 07, 2019 in Bloemfontein, South Africa.
Image: Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images

So desperate are they to see their top players play to a television audience that SA Rugby are reportedly considering a State of Origin three-match series later this year.

With the international calendar still very much in limbo‚ SA Rugby have had to consider all their options in the event the Springboks don’t see combat this year. Super Rugby as we know it is off the table and the Currie Cup is far from getting the green light.

One of the ideas put forward is a State of Origin three-match series played over the festive season in which teams will be assembled based on the players’ place of origin. That of course could mean place of birth‚ where the player matriculated or first played professional rugby.

In Australia‚ State of Origin matches in rugby league have been huge draw cards since the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons first clashed in the early 1980s.

In fact‚ it is often referred to as Australian sport’s greatest rivalry. State of Origin match-ups in Australia are based on where the player first played professional footie.

South Africa’s tribalism runs along different lines however.

Where the player was born or where he matriculated will more likely be the preferred selection criteria should the series get the go-ahead.

During its years of isolation‚ South African rugby occasionally turned to North versus South clashes to try and fan interest in the local game‚ while Test union Day was another such outlet.

A State of Origin series would be contingent on a number of factors. It’s main purpose would be to serve as a pot boiler for SA Rugby in the absence of other viable playing opportunities for the country’s top players.

It will only happen if the Rugby Championship is no longer part of the landscape this year. SA Rugby is still hopeful the Rugby Championship can be played even if it means the Springboks have to play all their matches abroad in a so called ‘bio bubble’.

SA Rugby faces financial ruin if the Rugby Championship does not go ahead this year.

Already‚ the Springboks’ end of year tour to Italy‚ Ireland‚ Wales and France is in jeopardy as the Six Nations unions started planning their own eight-team event in that time slot.


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