SA Rugby hopes to start domestic competition amid coronavirus pandemic

SA Rugby hopes to start domestic competition amid coronavirus pandemic

South African Rugby is hoping to have the country's professional players back on the field by 5 June after reports that they may run a domestic competition featuring its six Super Rugby and PRO14 sides.

The Super Rugby campaign was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic with no resumption date set, and now SA Rugby are keen to keep players active and the local rugby economy alive.

According to Afrikaans newspaper Rapport, a radically changed rugby calendar has been formulated for when the sport gets the go-ahead from government to continue.

The report added that in a worst-case scenario - where all rugby is cancelled for the remainder of the year - it could cost SA Rugby up to R200 milllion.

Should the game get the green light to go ahead, the following plan has been formulated:

- A two-month long tournament starting on 5 June featuring South Africa's four Super Rugby teams (Sharks, Stormers, Bulls and Lions) and two PRO14 outfits (Cheetahs and Southern Kings).

- The Rugby Championship will be played in August and September, with the SuperSport Rugby Challenge and Currie Cup also starting in this period.

- The Springboks' two Tests against Scotland, initially scheduled for 4 and 11 July, will take place in October, with the 18 July Test against Georgia scrapped.

- The Springboks' year-end European tour - where they are due to face Italy (7 November), Ireland (14 November), France (21 November) and Wales (28 November) - will go ahead.

This obviously means that Super Rugby will not be completed, with South Africa Australia, New Zealand and Argentina all likely to contest their own domestic competitions.

“SA Rugby is currently evaluating all our competition structures, with a view to restructure it in the interim so that we are able to afford game-time to all our franchise and provincial teams,” said CEO Jurie Roux said in a statement.

“We are considering local derby matches between our South African teams... (and) we are confident we will be able to put a feasible plan on the table that will be suitable for everyone... (and) will announce plans once we are in a position to do so.”

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