South African rugby bosses are open to the idea of the Springboks playing in a compacted Rugby Championship in Australia later this year.
JOHANNESBURG – South African rugby bosses are open to the idea of the Springboks playing in a compacted Rugby Championship in Australia later this year.
According to reports in Australia, Sanzaar are planning a competition inside a “hub” in Australia in October.
Rugby Australia’s new chief executive Rob Clarke was quoted at the weekend as saying there was “absolute commitment” from Sanzaar to a “hub-based” championship. He added that October and November were the likely months for the staging of the competition.
Rugby across the globe has been hit hard by the spread of Covid-19, with Super Rugby and the PRO14 suspended, among many others, but there now appears to be a glimmer of hope that the 2019 World Cup winners, the Springboks, may take to the field in 2020.
Jurie Roux, chief executive of SA Rugby, said on Monday that “nothing would be ruled out by us”.
“The important thing for us is to get back to playing and providing rugby and entertainment for all our stakeholders who are hungry to see our teams back on the field,” said Roux.
“That means we’re looking at a range of options and nothing is ruled out by us, although what we do end up with will largely be determined by the state of the pandemic and the government response in all territories.”
SA’s teams have yet to return to any form of group training or exercise as the country navigates its way through the Covid-19 pandemic. No sport or group gatherings have been allowed since a State of National Disaster was declared 10 weeks ago and since SA’s leaders called for a hard lockdown.
For the Boks to play in a “bubble” in Australia later this year, international borders will have to be opened and flights to and from SA and Australia will have to be permitted.
“Any solution will have player health, welfare and appropriate return-to-play protocols at heart,” said Roux.