South African rugby moves step closer to returning after talks with government

Jurie Roux (SARU CEO) during the South African launch of Guinness PRO14 at Southern Sun Cullinan on August 11, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Jurie Roux (SARU CEO) during the South African launch of Guinness PRO14 at Southern Sun Cullinan on August 11, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Image: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images

The wheels that will deliver rugby’s return to the playing field in this country are turning imperceptibly‚ but they are turning.

That much was confirmed by SA Rugby on Wednesday in a statement that said they “had sought and received clarification from government on a number of questions relating to the return to non-contact training.

“As a result SA Rugby would advise government this week of its technical preparedness to return to training‚ as per government requirements.

“However‚ due the location of nine of the 14 professional teams in COVID-19 “hotspot” zones – where it has been confirmed that training is not permitted – SA Rugby is reviewing the various options available to them to address the issues of training and the hosting of matches.

“This would ensure equality of preparation and create the environment for a return to competitive action. The actual date of return-to-training will be confirmed in due course.”

Whether that means they will get their Super Rugby and PRO14 teams to all prepare outside ‘hotspot’ zones is not immediately apparent.

SA Rugby outlined their return to play strategies in a lengthy document to government at the start of May. They have to update elements of the document as the impact of the pandemic is felt in some areas more keenly than in others.

Last week a glimmer of hope emerged that the Cheetahs and Southern Kings might see action by the third week of August.

The PRO14 set its resumption target date for Saturday‚ August 22 across all five its competing territories. Provisionally the Cheetahs and the Southern Kings due for combat that weekend.

They will be involved in derby matches earmarked for the two competing PRO14 teams respectively in Italy‚ Scotland and South Africa.

That‚ however‚ will only happen if all government requirements are met.

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