Plans to restructure the game of rugby are being discussed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the recent measures introduced by the government to deal with the scourge.
SA Rugby announced on Wednesday that these plans could see South African franchises and other provincial teams return to a new, locally-based derby competition, in view of the current suspension of Vodacom Super Rugby and other European competitions where South African teams compete.
SA Rugby is in ongoing discussions with stakeholders about a number of competition models that could be implemented. “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 Jurie Roux, CEO at SA Rugby.
Obviously, nothing can happen in the next few weeks until the ‘period of social distancing’, as instructed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, has lapsed. We are considering local derby matches between our South African teams [which] we must still drill into the specifics, but we are confident we will be able to put a feasible plan on the table.”
SA Rugby’s director of rugby, Rassie Erasmus, said plans are already in place to continue with preparations. Scheduled Springbok alignment camps, Springbok Women’s training camps, as well as the Junior Springboks’ and Blitzboks’ preparations have, however, all been suspended until April 14.
Erasmus said: “Speaking purely from a rugby point of view, we realise no one could prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic and as a result, all of us in the game across the globe are in the same boat.” The director said planning for the season will carry on regardless.
While there are challenges when it comes to face-to-face interaction with players and team activities, modern communication methods make it possible for coaches, players and management teams to keep in constant contact with one another,” added Erasmus.
The Springboks’ Castle Lager Incoming Series Tests against Scotland and Georgia in July, Youth Week tournaments and the Currie Cup competition remain as scheduled, but will be reviewed in April, closer to the time.