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Another worrying Lions sign: South African grassroots rugby grinds to complete halt

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images)

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Further indications of how serious the concern is about the pandemic in South Africa with the Lions having just arrived for their eight-game, three-Test tour is how all grassroots level rugby has been cancelled even though the government had granted an allowance for it to continue. 


There is speculation that the Lions tour will get switched to Cape Town and take it away from the Gauteng region which is at the epicentre of growing concerns about the virus. The touring Lions are set to open their South Africa tour in Johannesburg this Saturday against the former Super Rugby Lions while the Springboks have returned to training ahead of their match versus Georgia following an outbreak in their camp.

In the meantime, amateur levels of rugby in the country have shut up shop. A media release on Tuesday read: “SA Rugby have commended its 14 member unions for proactively halting all forms of club and amateur rugby in the wake of the current third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic that has gripped South Africa.

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RugbyPass gives a taste of grassroots rugby in South Africa in Rugby Explorer
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RugbyPass gives a taste of grassroots rugby in South Africa in Rugby Explorer

“SA Rugby advised that provincial competitions such as the Currie Cup (Premier and First Divisions), as well as the Women’s Premier and First Divisions, as well as the U20s international series, will continue with strict adherence to all relevant protocols and that changes to the schedule will be made if necessary.”

Jurie Roux, the SA Rugby CEO, added: “Even though the Government Gazette allows for club rugby to continue, all provincial unions have halted club and amateur rugby proactively and we are very grateful of this approach of safety first.

“I want to compliment all the role players, including the administrators, coaches and players, for taking responsibility to halt club and amateur rugby due to the resurgence of Covid-19 in recent weeks.


“Ultimately, the health, safety and wellbeing of our players, coaches, officials and others comes first. We will reassess the situation after July 11, even though most of the club leagues have already been halted beyond that date.”


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