Rugby Championship

Nienaber explains the Springbok aero bio-bubble, strict Covid-19 protocols for Australia trip

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Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)
  • Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber said they'll be flying in a bio-bubble for their Australasian leg of the Rugby Champions.
  • They'll be engaged for three weeks in September and the first week of October against Australia and New Zealand.
  • They complete the South African leg of the tournament with a date against Argentina at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Gqeberha.

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber said they would be in a flying bubble when they depart for the Australasian leg of the Rugby Championship.

The Springboks play Argentina in their second Rugby Championship Test at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday, but have to make the trans-Indian Ocean trip to face Australia (12 and 18 September) and New Zealand (25 September and 2 October).

The New Zealand Tests are set to take place in Perth after the New Zealand borders were closed for the rest of the year.

"We will fly in a bubble plane with Argentina from Gqeberha to Cape Town and from there, we'll get on a plane together to Australia," Nienaber said.

"We stay within our bubble from when we leave here until we get to Australia."

Nienaber went to lengths to explain the difficulty of getting a player in a bubble, especially when they're on standby and have to come from outside the camp.

Nienaber confirmed that they have 42 players in camp, five more than the original 37 the group was cut down to before the British & Irish Lions series.

"What people don't understand is that we're currently in a testing regime and that makes it tough to get people in," Nienaber said.

"In the event we pick up injuries, even our standby players, they're in very strict blood-testing requirements that we have to adhere to in order to get on a plane and fly to Australia.

"It's possible to get somebody in, but to do so, they'd require a specific testing regime according to Sanzaar's requirements in SA, fly there and isolate for 14 days.

"The process means that at this stage if they'd join the camp, they'd only be available for the last Test in Australia."

Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:05. 


South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Trevor Nyakane

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Nicolaas van Rensburg, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Dan du Preez, 22 Jaden Hendrikse, 23 Damian Willemse



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Sat 18 Sep 21 09:05 AM (SAST)
South Africa
Suncorp Stadium
Sat 18 Sep 21 12:05 PM (SAST)
New Zealand
Suncorp Stadium
Sat 25 Sep 21 09:05 AM (SAST)
New Zealand
South Africa
Queensland Country Bank Stadium
Sun 12 Sep 21
South Africa 26
Australia 28
Sun 12 Sep 21
New Zealand 39
Argentina 0
Sun 05 Sep 21
Australia 21
New Zealand 38
1. New Zealand
2. South Africa
3. Australia
4. Argentina