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Rugby Championship 2020: Doubts over Springboks participation

South Africa’s participation in The Rugby Championship, which is set to be held towards the end of the year, is yet to be confirmed, according to tournament organisers Sanzaar.

Australia was revealed as the hosts of the 2020 edition of the southern hemisphere’s premier rugby competition. It will take place within the December-November international window as prescribed by World Rugby.

Doubts over Springboks participation 

However, there is doubt hanging over the participation of reigning champions, the Springboks.

There has been no international sports competition played in South Africa since March. 

While professional players have been back on the training field for weeks, competitive domestic action is only set to resume in October.

Sanzaar chief executive Andy Marinos says this has played a factor in the country’s participation not being cast in stone.

“The progress and impact of the pandemic has varied from country-to-country and international sporting competition is currently suspended in South Africa,” he said.

“The Springboks’ participation will be dependent on the relaxation of that suspension as well as overcoming a number of other logistical challenges including the opening of international air borders. South Africa is only expected to return to competitive play next month, leaving a relatively short time to prepare.”

Andy Marinos, Sanzaar CEO

The Rugby Championship heads Down Under

Sanzaar said the upcoming tournament would revert to the “home and away” format, following the abbreviated 2019 edition where each team played three matches.

Australia and New Zealand were both considered as hosts, having completed domestic competitions, with the latter ultimately handed the rights.

According to Marinos, factors such as quarantine protocols and commercial underwriting swayed Sanzaar’s decision in favour of Australia.

“The Rugby Australia submission was the most desirable and workable in terms of tournament logistics for the essential pre-tournament preparation period and the six-week tournament itself.”

Andy Marinos, Sanzaar CEO

South Africa finished the previous tournament unbeaten and lifted their maiden Rugby Championship trophy in Argentina after a convincing victory over the hosts.

Fixtures, dates and venues for the 2020 edition will announced in due course.

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