Cape Town – SuperSport seem far likelier to stave off howls
of protest over their live Currie Cup rugby coverage this weekend.
A week ago they incurred the displeasure of many enthusiasts
when it was learnt that they planned no live treatment for the two matches
involving table-toppers Western Province and the Golden Lions.
Instead very abbreviated highlights of the Pumas-WP and
Griquas-Lions games were later shown on the SuperSport Blitz channel.
The corporation explained that for logistical reasons they
were unable to televise more than two Currie Cup Premier Division fixtures live
on Test-match weekends (the Springboks played the Wallabies at Newlands on
But they have clearly shuffled their resources this weekend
– another which features a keynote Bok Test, this time against the All Blacks
at Ellis Park – to accommodate three of the four games in the latest round of
the ever-popular domestic competition.
Their listings reveal that on Friday, there will be
simultaneous coverage at 19:10 of the massively semis-relevant clashes between
the Sharks and Lions in Durban and Pumas and Blue Bulls in Nelspruit.
The former will be on the traditional rugby-geared channel
(SS1) and the latter on SS2.
Then on Saturday, three hours ahead of the Bok game, they
will also screen live (14:00 kickoff, SS1) the Bloemfontein clash between the
Free State Cheetahs and log-leaders WP.
The only fixture where live transmission will be absent is
the rather lame-duck encounter between Griquas and the EP Kings in Kimberley:
the team from Port Elizabeth are just about assured of a basement finish and
Griquas, too, are out of the semi-finals race.
“SuperSport ensures that teams enjoy an equal distribution
of TV time,” their statement last week had said.
But to their credit, they do appear to have gone the extra
mile to ensure all key encounters receive live treatment in the penultimate
round of pre-knockout play this weekend.
Adding the Pumas-Bulls game to the roster is especially
pleasing because it may prove to be a virtual “eliminator” between the two for
a last-four berth: Jimmy Stonehouse’s now rather fading troops lie fourth on 19
points and the Bulls are sixth, but a mere point behind them.
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