SA Rugby has less than two weeks to confirm Rugby Championship participation


SA Rugby director of rugby Johan “Rassie” Erasmus said they have got until October 10 to confirm whether the national team will be taking part in the Rugby Championship or not.

The tournament will start on November 10 in Australia‚ but the Springboks will have to be there well before then for quarantine issues.

South Africa’s domestic tournament‚ which will be called Super Rugby Unlocked kicks on October 9 when the Sharks host the Lions at King’s Park.

Erasmus‚ who is also the team commissioner of the Green team that will be playing against the Gold team at the Springbok showdown at Newlands on Saturday‚ is working remotely because of a rare condition that causes inflammation of the blood vessels including in the throat and lungs‚ which increases vulnerability to the impact of a potential Covid-19 infection.

He was diagnosed with the condition in 2018.

“It’ll have to be done after the 10th because 46 players have to go into camp‚ do a bit of training‚ isolation and get tested before we get onto the plane because the arrival date there is the 18th.

“Two weeks after that because of quarantine‚ Australia and New Zealand will have played each other if I have my ducks in a row‚” Erasmus said.

“So they’ll play in the first round of the domestic tournament‚ gather on October 11‚ be together‚ train and travel.

“The decision will be made for us and we won’t be able to make that decision on our own‚ but it can’t be later than the last game on October 10.

“We want to play Springbok rugby and it’ll be terrible to go through a year without Test rugby.”

There’s also the government approval that the Springboks need to get out of the country and getting the overseas-based players in South Africa.

Gold team commissioner and national team coach Jacques Nienaber had this headache to deal with‚ along with the expected reticence of the European teams having to cope without their Springbok stars for an extended period of time.

“There’s no green light from the government with regards to International sporting participation.

“That’s out of our hands at the moment. Once that happens‚ there are other factors like the isolation period in Australia and the minute detail of the quarantine still needs to be spelt out to us‚” Nienaber said.

“World Rugby has put out the regulation nine‚ which allows the players to be with us‚ but there’s been a bit of a pushback from the French and the English clubs.

“That would be slightly problematic as that would have a massive influence on the isolation period.”