The Cape’s dams may be full, but the longer it continues raining the better the chances that Western Province will spend yet another season without the Currie Cup in their trophy cabinet.
Stephen Nell writes in Die Burger that all indications on Tuesday were that the mother of all mud baths will be awaiting Province in Saturday’s rugby match against Boland in Wellington.
“It’s wet here,” said Boland CEO Piet Bergh on Tuesday. We’ve already undertaken to call in experts at the end of the season to advise us on how to improve drainage in the Boland Stadium. This week we’ll try and get some help in removing most of the water. We want to ensure that the match does actually take place.”
Rain is expected in Wellington every day this week, except on Thursday.
With WP under pressure to boost their points difference and keep their nose in front of the Cheetahs in the Currie Cup race by running in a good number of tries, this is bad news.
It will ultimately depend on the referee on the day, Christie du Preez, whether the match can continue, but it is highly unlikely that it will be postponed.
“The referee must decide whether players’ safety is being threatened. This could be the case, for example, if a player could drown in a loose scrum or as a result of a tackle,” South Africa’s leading referee, Jonathan Kaplan, said on Tuesday.
Vented his strong displeasure
“It very seldom happens that a rugby match is cancelled. It is left to the referee’s judgement and there are no real criteria.”
Kaplan was the referee when the Sharks met Boland in wet conditions earlier this year. Despite the conditions the Sharks won 41-7.
Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské vented his strong displeasure about the condition of the field after his team’s 15-10 win at the Boland Stadium.
“I think Saru must do something about it and perhaps reject the field as a venue if it rains and perhaps move the game to Paarl,” Drotské told Pieter Jordaan.
“The spectators suffer. We don’t mind playing at a wet Loftus Versfeld or Newlands, because you can at least still run with the ball. But in the Boland Stadium your whole foot sinks into the mud and you can’t run.”
The wet conditions have been described by some observers as Boland’s “16th man”, but Bergh says it’s nonsense to think that Boland see it as advantageous. “It isn’t good for the union. We don’t want it to be like this,” he said.
But for now it looks as if WP’s Bok-breakers will have to make peace with the fact of having to dig five points out of the mud on Saturday.Tweet