The Springboks have withdrawn from this year’s Rugby Championship, an annual competition which features the national rugby sides of Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
South Africa, the current World Champions and current Rugby Championship title holders, said that they were withdrawing because of government travel restrictions and worries over player welfare. The Springboks have not been in action since winning the World Cup in Japan last year.
The tournament is due to start on 31 October, with all matches being played in Australia. As a result of the South African withdrawal, six matches will be played, rather than twelve.
According to News24, the CEO of SA Rugby, Jurie Roux, said that it was ‘hugely disappointing’ but that with the disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic there were worries over player welfare.
In other sports news it was announced on Thursday that the English cricket side would tour South Africa next month for a series of limited overs matches in Cape Town and Paarl. Although the United Kingdom is listed as a high-risk Covid-19 country, the government has given permission for the tour to go ahead. The English players and support staff will be in a bio-secure ‘bubble’ for ten days after arriving in the country.
Cricket South Africa is set to make R70 million from the tour: much needed funds for the beleaguered organization.