South Africa Rugby has reportedly formulated a radically modified schedule to save the season following suspension due to the COVID-19.

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While a few countries like Italy and Scotland have scrapped the 2019/20 season, SA Rugby bosses have relentlessly been conducting plans to save the sport for the rest of the year.

According to the South African newspaper Rapport, the governing body presented a radically changed calendar for the 2020 season via video meetings with the MyPlayers organisation last week.

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The report added that SA Rugby identified June 5 as the date for a return to play, if the South African government allows sports to continue.

KEY FEATURES

  • A two-month-long tournament featuring South Africa’s four Super Rugby teams (Sharks, Stormers, Bulls and Lions) and two PRO14 outfits (Cheetahs and Southern Kings) is scheduled to start on June 5
  • The Rugby Championship will be played in August and September, with the Provincial Rugby Challenge and Currie Cup also starting during this period.
  • The Springboks’ two Tests against Scotland, initially scheduled for July 4 and 11, will take place in October, with the July 18 Test against Georgia scrapped.
  • The Springboks’ year-end European tour – where they are due to face Italy (November 7), Ireland (November 17), France (November 21) and Wales (November 28) – will go ahead.

The proposed schedule means that Super Rugby will not be completed, with South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina all likely to contest their own domestic competitions.

However, if rugby cannot resume, the report added that SA Rugby is facing a predicted financial loss of around R200-million.

“We have workshopped a number of scenarios based on potential return-to-play dates and identified the most likely financial scenario based on rugby resuming in the third quarter of 2020,” said Jurie Roux, the CEO of SA Rugby last week.

“The industry came together virtually on day one of this crisis to frame a united response.

“This is not an SA Rugby problem or a unions’ problem, it is everyone’s problem and we are very clear that we have to stand together if we are to overcome it.”

Source: Netwerk24 & Rapport

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