Stick, Davids to coach 'schoolyard pick' Springbok Showdown teams

Stick, Davids to coach 'schoolyard pick' Springbok Showdown teams

Former Southern Kings mentors Deon Davids and Mzwandile Stick will be the opposing coaches in a Castle Lager Springbok Showdown clash at Newlands in Cape Town on October 3.

The encounter will pit SA-based stars and top, up-and-coming talent against each other, according to SA Rugby, which  announced its plans on Wednesday to reignite an exciting four-month domestic season.

Springbok assistant coaches Stick and Davids will coach Springbok Green vs Gold teams with Rassie Erasmus (director of rugby) and Jacques Nienaber (Springbok coach) acting as the two team commissioners.

The selection process will take the form of a draft pick from an enlarged squad of 60 players, with Green and Gold team bosses taking alternate turns in an old-style “schoolyard pick” to assemble their match-day squads of 25 players each.

The drama will unfold live on SuperSport, with the enlarged squad set to be announced live on Saturday, before the draft pick next week.

“This will not only be an opportunity to see the best of the best available in SA square off against each other in what promises to be something never seen before, but it will also provide the players with another valuable opportunity to shake off the rust and get the legs and lungs going after not playing any rugby in the past six months,” Erasmus said.

“The players will be encouraged to showcase their skills — individually and in their teams — and while it will be full-on, we’re expecting to see a highly competitive match of quality players against each other.

“It will be exciting — from the moment we select the squads, with a number of twists thrown in for good measure — through the build-up to the match and the actual encounter in Cape Town.”

To kick things off, though, the domestic rugby season will resume on September 26, with a double-header at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, when the Bulls take on the Sharks, and the Emirates Lions battle the DHL Stormers on Vodacom Super Fan Saturday.

These matches will be followed by the Springbok Showdown at Newlands, after which a double-round domestic competition, between seven franchises, kicks off on the weekend of October 10.

Details of the domestic competition, with each of the teams facing the others home and away and every side enjoying two byes, will be released in due course.

In what is another first for SA, the domestic competition will continue over Christmas and New Year and will culminate in semifinals on January 16 and a final on January 23.

“This is a very exciting plan for the next few months, considering all the challenges we’ve faced this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and it will be great to see our best local rugby heroes battle it out from October to January,” SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said.  

“We’ve worked very hard with the government, SuperSport, our various sponsors and the franchises to get to this point and it’s great to know we can now look forward to brilliant provincial rugby being played in the next couple of months.

“Unfortunately, spectators won’t be allowed inside the stadiums as we are still working with certain Covid-19 regulations.”