SA Rugby aware of possible Super Rugby exclusion

SA Rugby Union chief executive Jurie Roux. Picture: Gallo Images

SA Rugby says it has been ‘kept abreast’ of plans for a new-look Super Rugby competition that could exclude the South African franchises.

This comes after New Zealand Rugby on Friday announced plans to enter its five franchises into a new version of the tournament from 2021 that would exclude participating sides from both South Africa and Argentina.

Nothing has been officially confirmed yet, but the announcement made New Zealand’s position on the need to move to tournament forward without South Africa very clear.

SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux is expected to hold a press conference next week where further information is expected, but on Friday the organisation released a short statement in response to the news out of New Zealand, acknowledging that it had been informed of New Zealand’s plans.

“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive human impact and, in our sport, has asked fundamental questions of the viability of competitions and fixture scheduling,” the statement read.

“SA Rugby has been kept abreast of the thinking in New Zealand and of the outcomes of the Aratipu Report to address the immediate challenges of travel restrictions that may stretch into 2021.

“As part of the SANZAAR joint venture we will be examining how the mooted new competition will fit into the existing contracted competitions.”

While competitive rugby has returned in both New Zealand and Australia, South Africa’s professional sides were only confirmed to be back at training from Friday as the country navigates its way through the coronavirus pandemic.

It is not yet clear when South African rugby will see a return to play in 2020.

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