By Adam Wakefield
The Currie Cup is the oldest domestic rugby competition in the world and this year’s competition has been one of the better ones, with the “big” five being competitive up to the last week of the round robin competition (though as a Lions fan I was saddened by their demise before the semi-finals).
Apart from rugby, the Currie Cup has always been an awesome showpiece for provincialism. South Africans from around the country have found any reason possible to prove that their province is the most worthy of them all. Conspiracy theories have emerged as to why certain players aren’t selected for the Springboks all because they play in the wrong region of the country. About half of Kitch Christie’s 1995 World Cup winning side consisted of Transvaal (now the Lions) players, which does make you wonder …
This provincialism can be seen around campus. I have heard endless arguments between good friends as to how “Luke Watson is being discriminated against!” These arguments sometimes verge on civil warfare, especially if a few empty draught glasses happen to be in the vicinity.
Why do rugby fans, and those of any sport, get riled up for the cause of their province? It could be that sports fans enjoy being part of a common cause, where their teams represent themselves as well as their provinces.
What can be said is that when this fervour is channelled into sport, the result is the magic like the Currie Cup. Provincial rivalry adds an interesting subplot to what is happening on the field.
There is nothing better than walking up to a friend, whose team got destroyed by yours over the weekend and giving them a reassuring pat on the shoulder. Laughing at your friend will follow this warm display of sportsmanship. This is acceptable behaviour because you know your time will come where the situations are reversed.
Some say provincialism is bad for the game. Rubbish. We all enjoy a good soap opera, especially on the sports field. Lastly on the Currie Cup, the Cheetahs would’ve won and Luke Watson will be a Springbok come year’s end. If these predictions were wrong, it was a conspiracy by the other provinces.