On Friday, SANZAAR and SA Rugby confirmed that the Springboks would not travel to Australia to play in The Rugby Championship 2020 against Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.
The decision means that the competition will now revert back to its original international competition format of the Tri-Nations, this time involving Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.
SA Rugby confirmed the news on Friday highlighting a number of reasons while the Springboks would not be able to travel Down Under for the competition.
In the statement on Friday, SA Rugby said that they were reluctantly been forced to withdraw the Rugby Championship.
Here are the reasons why the Springboks will not battle it out in Australia:
1. Player welfare made it impossible
While Super Rugby Aotearoa and Super Rugby AU gave the All Black and Wallaby players the opportunity to prove themselves and get match fitness, South Africa have only just kicked off their domestic season with Round 2 of Super Rugby Unlocked taking place this weekend.
While the South Africans have also held a Super Fan Saturday and Springbok Showdown, a large portion of what would have been a 46-man squad for the competition have just one or two games under their belt since the Super Rugby season was brought to a halt earlier this year.
SA Rugby consulted with MyPlayers – the players’ representative body – who supported the decision.
Springbok Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus further explained that 'the players needed a minimum of 400 minutes of game time before they could be ready for a Test match.'
2. Government regulations
Unlike the Wallabies and All Blacks, South Africa do not have restrictions when it comes to selecting overseas-based players. This could have helped the Springboks selected players that may have reached those 400 minutes of Rugby Rassie Erasmus highlighted.
24 overseas-based players were identified for potential selection (depending on COVID-19 status) and for whom visas had been applied, were based with European or Japanese clubs. However, SA Rugby CEO explained that getting those players to Australia is not an easy task.
“Players in England, Ireland, France and Japan are subject to differing local regulations and travel protocols and potentially imminent renewed lockdowns in some territories,” he said.
“It was unclear when they would be able to become functioning members of the Springbok squad in Australia.
“We understand that public safety concerns come first and there’s no way that we could expect short cuts to be found to get them out of their host countries and into the Springbok bubble.
There was also a problem with the players in South Africa with the locally-based portion of the 46-player squad was scheduled to fly from Johannesburg on Sunday. However, government regulations as currently drafted meant it was unclear whether the team would legally be able to depart.
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