SA Rugby hopeful of Springboks participation in Rugby Championship

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WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - JULY 27: The Springboks stand for the national anthem during the 2019 Rugby Championship Test Match between New Zealand and South Africa at Westpac Stadium on July 27, 2019 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: The Springboks stand for the national anthem during the 2019 Rugby Championship Test Match between New Zealand and South Africa in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

Plans for South Africa to play in this year’s Rugby Championship in Australia are still being pursued, SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux confirmed.

These plans, however, are dependent on international travel and other governmental restrictions in addition to player wellness and high performance considerations.

Australia is set to host the tournament in November and December but the defending champions’ preparations for the tournament have not been as thorough as those of New Zealand and Australia.

Many of South Africa’s players have not been in action since March when Super Rugby and local sporting activities were suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. The players only just recently returned to full training after the South African government lifted some restrictions on sporting activities. They have also not played any competitive games compared to the aforementioned teams which have completed their own domestic competitions.

There was also persistent speculation that South Africa would not participate in the Rugby Championship and would instead opt to compete in the Autumn Nations Cup. That option, however, has since been ruled out with Georgia and Fiji being drafted in to that tournament.

“We’re still not in a position to confirm plans for the Springboks, but it remains our wish that they play Tests this year,” Roux said.

“It would not only be great to see the Rugby World Cup champions in action, but it would also give the Bok management valuable preparation for next year’s tour of the British & Irish Lions.”

SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos echoed Roux’s comments noting that the Springboks’ participation was pegged on a number of factors outside the control of SANZAAR.

“The Springboks’ participation will be dependent on the relaxation of that suspension as well as overcoming a number of other logistical challenges including the opening of international air borders,” Marinos said.

Despite these hurdles, it is believed that the defending champions will participate in the tournament.

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