International rugby not cleared to return by South African government

Domestic rugby in South Africa has been cleared to return amid the Covid-19 pandemic, but international competition is not permitted under the government restrictions.

The new restrictions from the South African government will cast further doubt about the Springboks participating in the Rugby Championships. Source: Getty

SA Rugby boss Jurie Roux is hoping to have the first matches in early to mid-September.

The Bulls, Lions, Sharks, Stormers, Cheetahs, Kings, Griquas and Pumas all started with non-contact training a few weeks ago, SA rugby said in release welcoming the government allowing rugby’s return.

As far as international rugby and the ability of the Springboks to play in the Rugby Championships, the return to international competition is not permitted under the new regulations.

Roux said he understood the government needed to phase any return to normality.

“We know the World Rugby window for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship is only in November and December, so we’re hopeful that in due course the government will be in a position to further relax the restrictions,” said Roux.

“For now, it’s the most important thing is to ensure we get the action underway as we have many stakeholders, such as our broadcast partner, competition and team sponsors and our supporters, who are keen to see rugby again.”

South Africa had 8307 new Covid-19 cases overnight, with 306 deaths. There are 538,000 active cases in the country.

The Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers play in Super Rugby while the Kings and Cheetahs play in the Pro14 in Europe. The Griquas and Pumas are Currie Cup teams.