SA Rugby targets August for a return to action

SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux addresses the media during a virtual press conference. Picture: Gallo Images

With professional players allowed to resume training under current lockdown regulations, SA Rugby hopes to relaunch domestic competitions within the next couple of months.

SA Rugby is collaborating with government on return-to-train protocols with a view to resuming competitive action in August, if not earlier, according to the organisation’s chief executive Jurie Roux.

The federation’s 500-page return-to-play manual had been in the hands of the department of sport, arts and culture for a few weeks, and they were confident of making progress in an attempt to relaunch the sport.

“We believe we have a comprehensive and scientifically rigorous set of protocols to minimise the risk of transmission and allow a return to competitive rugby within the next two months,” Roux said.

“We have planned meticulously for the moment and know we have the infrastructure and capacity within our professional playing environment to safely deliver those protocols.

“Rugby, and sport in general, is probably better placed than 90% of other businesses to return to normalised activities, as fitness testing and wellness measurement are part our DNA.”

Roux said the potential loss of four months of the 2020 calendar would mean a re-working of the domestic fixtures, but he believed a re-designed Super Rugby competition and the Currie Cup were both possible.

“Obviously the international travel ban means Vodacom Super Rugby will undergo a re-design, as it has in New Zealand and Australia, but we are looking forward to its resumption,” Roux said.

Meanwhile, SA Rugby was planning for a range of possibilities for the return of Test rugby.

“There are a number of options,” Roux said.

“The postponed July tests could still take place here in October, our northern hemisphere tour in November has not been cancelled, and the possibility of playing the Castle Lager Rugby Championship in a single venue in a ‘bubble’ has also been workshopped, but those all remain unconfirmed and reliant on factors outside of our control.

“We also have a few other ideas up our sleeve, which we’re quite excited about, and will announce if and when they become necessary.”

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