Bulls coach Jake White wants Currie Cup to be strong and relevant

31 August 2021 - 12:13 By mahlatse mphahlele
Bulls coach Jake White.
Bulls coach Jake White.
Image: Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images

Bulls coach Jake White does not have immediate ideas on how to go about it, but what he knows is that all the stops must be pulled to ensure the survival of the Currie Cup.

The Currie Cup’s relevance has dropped significantly in recent years and this is largely due to a congested fixture list and numerous format changes. White says the tournament must be brought back to its former glory.

“I don’t have the answer to what needs to be done, but what I will say is that we must try as South Africans to make sure that the Currie Cup stays as a prestige competition in our country,” said the former Springboks coach.

“It would be sad to ever water it down or never take it seriously. I am much older than most of the other coaches or players, and as a result I can rattle out the names of the past Transvaal or Western Provinces sides.

“I remember watching the 1987 Currie Cup final with Naas Botha scoring a drop goal at a packed Ellis Park, and I remember the quality of the players who played in that competition and in the final. I know it meant a lot to those players and we must not allow the memories of those ex-players to be diminished because it is no longer a serious competition.

“Like I said, I am not exactly sure of what we should do but we have to find a way as a rugby playing nation like SA to make sure that the Currie Cup never ever becomes a watered-down competition. The Currie Cup will always be important to people who are involved in it and it must stay like that for future generations.”

This season, less fancied Griquas earned a place in the semifinals against the Sharks in a match to be played in Durban on Saturday, while the Pumas missed out on qualifying for the last four by one point to Western Province.

Due to the impressive performances of the Griquas and Pumas, the Cheetahs and the Lions finished at the foot of the table.

“I think it is fantastic for rugby in our country that we can have six to seven competitive teams and it is also wonderful for the players. It is a prestigious thing to play in the Currie Cup semifinals or in the final, and they have worked hard.

“I am really trying hard to get the spark back. I think that’s what’s been missing and not only for the Bulls, but generally, we need to up the age and experience of our players.

"But the one nice thing about it is that you can develop some youngsters who can grow with some of the older guys and that bodes well in creating a little bit of a sustainable squad going forward.”