The Springboks’ participation in the 2020 Rugby Championship will remain up in the air for a while longer, after SANZAAR gave South Africa Rugby two more days to come to a decision about their involvement in the tournament.
SA Rugby were expected to announce today whether the Springboks would make the trip to Australia or pull out of the tournament. However, following a SANZAAR CEO’s call on Tuesday, it was decided the governing body would be given 48 more hours to make their final call, a decision which could push back the side’s Round 1 fixture against Argentina.
The Springboks were due to player Los Pumas in their tournament opener at Suncorp Stadium on November 7, but quarantine requirements for the arriving players could see that game now rescheduled.
“The SANZAAR member unions have agreed to provide South Africa Rugby with an additional 48 hours to finalise its internal stakeholder discussions,” a SANZAAR statement read.
“This will now delay the scheduled departure of the Springboks from South Africa to Australia. SANZAAR will provide an update on the resolution of the discussions and a timetable for the Springboks’ participation in the Rugby Championship when available in the coming days.
“The Bledisloe Cup fixtures between Australia and New Zealand on Saturday, October 31 and Saturday, November 7 in Sydney and Brisbane respectively are unaffected and will go ahead as scheduled.”
It had been rumoured earlier in the week that SA Rugby were about to announce their withdrawal from the tournament due to concerns around player welfare, however Rugby Australia officials have been reported as being confident of the Boks’ participation.
The Rugby Championship is expected to create $30 million in revenue to be split between the four governing bodies involved, meaning SA Rugby would stand to lose some $7.5 million should they pull out.
However, their withdrawal would also create financial headaches for Australia, New Zealand and Argentina. Broadcasters signed off on the tournament’s Saturday double-header format, which of course will not be possible without all four teams taking part. Without the Springboks, broadcast contracts would have to be renegotiated in part if not in their entirety.