CAPE TOWN – SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux says that South Africa has not been kicked out of Super Rugby.
New Zealand Rugby last week announced their plans to establish an eight or ten-team tournament for 2021 and beyond, which would feature its five franchises, two Australian teams and a Pacific Island team, with South Africa and Argentina excluded.
This again raised questions about South Africa’s future, with focus again falling on a possible move to the northern hemisphere.
However, during a digital press conference on Tuesday, Roux insisted that there is a “very legal agreement in place” which needs to be acted within and that SA were not axed from the competition.
“Our New Zealand counterparts have consistently raised the fact that given the travel restriction in 2021, travel costs and the likelihood of the reduction of flights to New Zealand, there was every indication that neither South Africa nor Argentina would be able to enter New Zealand, possibly until the end of May outside of a quarantine process.
“Every franchise that travelled would have had to go there two weeks ahead of time to be in some kind of quarantine or isolation, train for two weeks without playing a match, play the matches and then have to suffer the same process when coming back into the country. That’s just not a viable option and the New Zealand government hasn’t given permission for that.
“New Zealand have every right to determine their future, but in terms of Sanzaar’s joint-venture agreement, there is a very legal agreement in place and you have to act within it.”
Roux added that SA Rugby was considering other options for the future, but that nothing could be confirmed as yet.
“I wouldn’t be doing my job not to look at plan B or C, and I’ve been doing that for a long time. There are a few options on the table. We can’t touch on that just yet, but it is a long way down the road in terms of having different options that will probably suit us better, and which will help us build towards the direction we think we probably need to head towards over the next few years.”
Roux also confirmed that there would be no Test matches hosted in South Africa this year as it’s unlikely that the country’s borders will be opened soon, and added that the most likely chance of SA playing international rugby in 2020 is a Rugby Championship based in New Zealand.
There are negotiations for a year-end visit to the Northern Hemisphere, but nothing has been finalised.