- SA Rugby has welcomed the decision by government to allow for the return of local rugby.
- This will only happen if certain conditions are met, including playing at empty stadiums.
- If everything goes according to plan, SA Rugby is hoping for a mid-September return for the sport.
SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux has welcomed the news that rugby has been given the green light to return by sports minister Nathi Mthethwa.
This will only happen if certain conditions are met, however.
It includes measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and contact training, as well as matches being carried without spectators.
Only limited people will be allowed to attend games as part of essential services to make these events possible and from within a "bio safe environment".
“Since the start of this pandemic, we have been working hard at ensuring we get back on the field and we’ve kept the government informed on our plans throughout the process,” Roux siad via a ress statement.
“We are very grateful for the opportunity to move to the next phase of our return-to-play plans and will provide the Department with all the necessary information required, such as venues for matches, to ensure a smooth transition to competitive rugby.
“Having said that, our eight franchise teams that returned to the training field recently still need a few more weeks of preparation before they will be ready for matches, and from SA Rugby’s side we will assist them with whatever is necessary.
“At this stage, we hope to have our first matches by early to mid-September and our plans on the structure of the planned competition will be announced in due course, as we have various options to consider.”
The Bulls, Lions, Sharks, Stormers, Cheetahs, Southern Kings, Griquas and Pumas have all started with non-contact training over the last few weeks.
At this point, a return to international competition is not possible under the new regulations but Roux hopes this will change in the coming months.
“We know the World Rugby window for the Rugby Championship is only in November and December, so we’re hopeful that in due course the government will be in a position to further relax the restrictions,” said Roux.
“For now, the most important thing is to ensure we get the action underway as we have many stakeholders, such as our broadcast partner, competition and team sponsors and our supporters, who are keen to see rugby again.”
- Compiled by Sport24 staff