While no official confirmation has been given, South Africa’s rugby franchises have been told to prepare for a July 6 date for a return to the field.
SA Rugby’s delay in getting approval from government was apparently due to the federation seeking clarity on how to deal with the country’s nine professional teams currently situated in Covid-19 hotspots.
Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie was doubtful whether the tentative plan to restart rugby competitions in August could be implemented.
He revealed, however, that local franchises had been advised to gear up for a return to training on July 6.
“Everyone is naturally aware that the situation remains fluid, but it’s nice to at least have some sort of clarity on when we can start with some physical activity again,” Fourie said.
“I think we’re all now ready and excited to take an important step in getting going.”
Earlier in the week, the national federation said it would be seeking clarification on “a number of questions relating to the return of non-contact training”.
Government had given the green light at the end of last month for non-contact sports to resume, while allowing for contact sports to commence with light training.
All federations had been required to submit customised safety protocols, which SA Rugby did at the beginning of the month.
A delay in getting approval, however, had scuppered SA Rugby’s tentative plan of having competitive rugby back behind closed doors next month.
“As far as I understand, there’s a compulsory two-month period between a return to training and a return to play,” Fourie said.
“So if we’re going to have any competition, it can only start after September 6.”