SA Rugby

CEO of SA Rugby. Jurie Roux. Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP

Rugby to return in South Africa by mid-September inside ‘bio-bubble’

South African rugby has been handed a huge boost after government gave the green light for resumption under strict conditions.

SA Rugby

CEO of SA Rugby. Jurie Roux. Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP

South African rugby has officially been given the green light to resume by government under strict protocols according to SA Rugby Union CEO Jurie Roux.

Government have gazetted the return of rugby in the country on Thursday, 06 August. It allows for the return of competitive rugby subject to compliance with measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Rugby given permission to return in South Africa

The South African Rugby Union has made a huge breakthrough in light of the return of action in the country following the lengthy COVID-19 suspension after getting permission from government to return to the field of play.

“Since the start of this pandemic, we have been working hard at ensuring we get back on the field and we’ve kept the Government informed on our plans throughout the process,” SARU CEO Jurie Roux said.

“We are very grateful for the opportunity to move to the next phase of our return-to-play plans and will provide the Department with all the necessary information required, such as venues for matches, to ensure a smooth transition to competitive rugby.”

Rugby to take place within a bio-safe environment

The return of Rugby is likely to follow football’s return to action in a single-province bio-safe environment after Roux confirmed the government’s stipulations.

“The directions stipulate that contact training, and matches can be played in empty stadiums, with only limited people allowed to attend games as part of essential services to make these events possible and from within a ‘bio safe environment’.”

SARU planning for early to mid September return

Roux confirmed that despite teams already returning to training two weeks ago, a few more weeks of preparation will be required with fixtures like to get underway before the middle of September.

“Our eight franchise teams that returned to the training field recently still need a few more weeks of preparation before they will be ready for matches, and from SA Rugby’s side we will assist them with whatever is necessary.

“At this stage, we hope to have our first matches by early to mid-September and our plans on the structure of the planned competition will be announced in due course, as we have various options to consider.”

No green light for international rugby

“We know the World Rugby window for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship is only in November and December, so we’re hopeful that in due course the government will be in a position to further relax the restrictions,” Roux added.

“For now, it’s the most important thing is to ensure we get the action under way as we have many stakeholders, such as our broadcast partner, competition and team sponsors and our supporters, who are keen to see rugby again.”