The Springboks expect to confirm whether they will be involved in this year’s Rugby Championship by the end of the week according to Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus.
Erasmus expects an answer by Saturday 10 October with the Springboks still awaiting clearance from government to travel internationally.
Springboks could pull out of Rugby Championship
The Springbok showdown revealed that the cream of South African rugby talent are far from Test-match ready and there is a suggestion that the team may pull out of the four-nation event in Australia.
“We are a long way off in terms of fitness and match readiness from where we were at the World Cup,” Springbok captain Siya Kolisi admitted.
SA Rugby are understandably eager for the Springboks to enter the Rugby Championship after a year where their revenue generation capacity has taken a serious hit.
Money vs player welfare
The Springboks would only be afforded a handful of Super Rugby Unlocked matches to work up to full match fitness though and the risks of serious injuries have to be considered by SA Rugby.
“We have to take rugby considerations into account and also weigh up the potential commercial losses if we do not play,” said SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux.
The Springboks would seemingly be able to reinforce their ranks with players based in the northern hemisphere where the seasons have resumed with a few disruptions. Springbok wing Cheslin Kolbe was named player of the month for September after and inspired start to the Top 14 season.
Team management held the Green vs Gold match with the purpose of improving the match fitness of the elite group of South African-based players but the performances on display have dimmed expectations.
Springbok Showdown was a worthwhile exercise
Despite this Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber said that the match was a worthwhile exercise.
The coach was especially pleased to bring younger players into a Springbok environment.
“A number of players in this game came into the Springbok set-up as rookies earlier in their careers – guys such as Siya Kolisi, Frans Steyn and Elton Jantjies, to name a few – and they have mentioned the positive effect working with experienced players as youngsters had on their rugby careers,” Nienaber said.
“The young ones and new players in both camps brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm into the mix because they were super excited to be involved and to learn and absorb whatever was happening around them. So, from that point of view it was definitely a very worthwhile exercise.
“Now they have a real taste of what the Bok environment looks and feels like. Although the match was not a spectacle, I think especially the young ones will look back with lots of good memories and we hope they return to their franchise teams eager to implement what they’ve learn.”