Sanzaar (South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina Rugby) on Friday confirmed the Springboks will not travel to Australia to play in the Rugby Championship.
Due the South African government travel restrictions, player welfare and safety concerns, and the ongoing effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on South African players both in South Africa and across their various clubs in the UK and Europe, the Springboks will remain in South Africa.
The impact of this will see Sanzaar now going back to its original international competition format of the Tri-Nations, this time involving Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.
South African Rugby chief executive, Jurie Roux, said: “Sanzaar and Rugby Australia have bent over backwards to make The Rugby Championship happen and it would have been unfair on them and their partners and state government to delay a decision any longer.
“This is a hugely disappointing outcome for supporters and commercial partners but the on-going impacts of the pandemic in multiple dispensations mean we are unable to deliver a Springbok team without seriously compromising player welfare, apart from other logistical challenges.”
Sanzaar chief executive Andy Marinos said: “Covid is just a gift that keeps on giving! Naturally, it is extremely disappointing that the Springboks, due to the continued complexities of operating in and around this Covid environment, cannot fully compete in the previously planned six-round Rugby Championship.
“That said this now presents us with a unique opportunity, in this our 25th year, to close off 2020 with a fully-fledged Tri-Nations Competition.
“Sanzaar recognises the challenges and adversity that the national unions have had to face this year due to the pandemic.”
In partnership with ANA and Sports Leo