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Rainbow Cup under threat due to Covid-19 restrictions - report

Sharks CEO Eduard Coetzee says cross-hemisphere tournament will be cancelled.

The Sharks were due to travel to Europe next month for the Rainbow Cup.
The Sharks were due to travel to Europe next month for the Rainbow Cup.
Image: AAP/PA Images

THE VIABILITY OF the Rainbow Cup is in serious jeopardy just two weeks out from the opening round of matches as Covid-19 travel restrictions tighten.

The new tournament was set to see four South African franchises join the 12 European Pro14 clubs in a two-month cross-hemisphere competition.

After kicking off with three rounds of domestic derbies, the Super Rugby quartet of the Stormers, Sharks, Bulls and Lions were set to travel to Europe for the final three rounds of games and the tournament final.

But Sharks CEO Eduard Coetzee told South African media on Sunday that he expects the competition to be cancelled.

“We have little information at this stage, but it seems to be the case that the Rainbow Cup will be cancelled,” Coetzee told South Africa’s IOL.

South Africa is one of the countries on Ireland’s mandatory hotel quarantine list — which is set to be further expanded on Thursday — with no exemption for professional sports athletes currently allowed as things stand.

The South African franchises had been expected to base themselves in England, a plan which is also now reportedly in jeopardy due to UK government concerns.

France is one of the 16 countries which will be added to Ireland’s quarantine list this week, posing problems for Women’s Six Nations organisers — Ireland are due to host France in Donnybrook on Saturday — as well as a potential headache for Champions Cup bosses with Leinster set to face French opposition in the semi-finals at the end of this month.

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