SANZAAR have handed South Africa a 48-hour deadline to resolve internal issues and confirm their participation in this year’s Rugby Championship.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic the southern hemisphere tournament – in the which the Springboks, All Blacks, Wallabies and Pumas participate – will be held in Australia from October 31 to December 12 in the states of New South Wales and Queensland.
2019 World Cup winners South Africa are also the Rugby Championship’s defending champions but are yet to confirm their participation in this year’s tournament after new Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber expressed concerns over the match fitness of his players after a lengthy Covid-19 enforced break.
Further complicating matters is Australia’s strict quarantine regulations. The tournament is set to start on October 31 when Australia host New Zealand in Sydney and South Africa’s first Test is set to take place when they face Argentina in Brisbane on November 7.
Nienaber has said he would not want the Boks to compete in Tests unless the players he selects were involved in at least six matches. That is unlikely to happen as South Africa’s domestic rugby only returned to action two weeks ago after their lengthy Covid-19 break.
South Africa were initially given until Wednesday to confirm their involvement in the Rugby Championship but that deadline has now been extended by two days after a last-ditch teleconference between the four countries.
“The SANZAAR member unions have agreed to provide South Africa Rugby with an additional 48 hours to finalise its internal stakeholder discussions,” SANZAAR said in a statement.
“This will now delay the scheduled departure of the Springboks from South Africa to Australia.
“SANZAAR will provide an update on the resolution of these discussions and a timetable for the Springboks participation in the Rugby Championship when available in the coming days.”