The Springboks have set a deadline of October 10 to decide whether they'll play in the Rugby Championship in Australia.
South Africa have been named in the competition's draw, but World Cup winning coach and new Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus says a number of hurdles remain.
"We desperately want to play, it will be terrible to go a year without the Springboks playing," Erasmus said in an overnight news conference."
"But we have had one of the toughest lockdowns in the world and our players were indoors for months. In other countries players could train or at least go to the park to exercise, we did not have that."
Erasmus says they know the Springboks need to play from a financial point of view and are working to make it possible.
He says a deadline of October 10 has been set to confirm participation in the Rugby Championship.
"If you look at the science, we have to get five or six matches into the players for their own welfare and to make it safe for them, and we are working out how to do that. Players probably need 500 minutes (of game-time) to be safe."
Adding to the South African Rugby Union's woes, Erasmus says there looks to be impending problems around having players released from northern hemisphere club.
"We would want to arrive in Australia at the same time, as you have to quarantine for two weeks, which is why you need to take a massive squad because if you get injuries, you can't just bring someone new in."