South Africa have still to confirm that their world champion Springboks will definitely defend their Rugby Championship title later this year in Australia. Rugby has only just returned in South Africa in recent weeks following its stoppage due to the coronavirus pandemic and a trial match took place last Saturday in Cape Town. 

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However, despite the southern hemisphere Test season kicking off with New Zealand facing Australia in Wellington on Sunday and Argentina having already arrived to clear quarantine in Australia, the situation regarding the Springboks is not yet 100 per cent clear.

In a statement issued on Saturday, SA Rugby outlined it still hasn’t signed off on the Springboks definitely participating in next month’s tournament. “The Springboks’ ability to participate in the Rugby Championship would be finalised early next week,” read the statement. 

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The team is due to defend its title in Australia between November 7 and December 12, but several hurdles need to be cleared if it is to be confirmed.

“The South African government lifted the ban on international sporting participation a week ago and directions to manage such participation were published on Wednesday evening.”

A spokesman added that SA Rugby were seeking further clarification from the departments of arts, sports, culture and transport as to how those regulations would impact on the planned participation. A final decision was only likely to be finalised early next week once those clarifications had been assessed internally and with SA Rugby’s SANZAAR partners.

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The Springboks, who haven’t had a Test match since winning the World Cup final against England last November in Yokohama, are scheduled to open their Rugby Championship campaign with a November 7 match versus Argentina in Brisbane before moving to Sydney to take on host country a week later. Back-to-back matches will then follow against the All Blacks in Sydney and Newcastle. 

 

   

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