The world champion Springboks are on track to rejoin The Rugby Championship in 2021 following what SA Rugby describe as a refreshed approach by the four partner unions in what was outlined as the first part of a phased redevelopment within southern hemisphere rugby.


South Africa pulled out of this month’s tournament in Australia, citing lack of match preparation time as the reason not to travel after their clubs only returned to playing in recent weeks following the pandemic stoppage of the sport there.

That decision meant the Springboks have yet to play since they lifted the World Cup with a win over England in last November’s final in Yokohama, but they will now return to The Rugby Championship next year following the Lions tour next July.     

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Wallabies assistant Petrus du Plessis on Bledisloe IV

It’s said that the Championship, the flagship tournament of southern hemisphere rugby, will be restructured to include a twelve-match format with teams playing each other on a home or away basis through the new mini-tour match schedule that was adopted in 2019.

“We welcome the changes announced to the Rugby Championship with our SANZAAR partners and we are looking forward to seeing what the new strategic plan for the competition entails, with possible international expansion on the cards,” said Jurie Roux, SA Rugby CEO.

“Although we had to change our domestic focus, we still have a long history with the All Blacks and Wallabies as well as a long-standing friendship with the Pumas and we look forward to more world-class Test rugby.


“Ever since the Tri-Nations was first contested in 1996, and more recently the Rugby Championship from 2012, a team from the southern hemisphere has won the Rugby World Cup five out of six times – which is testimony to the high quality of Test rugby played on this side of the equator.”

Andy Marinos, SANZAAR CEO, added: “The re-commitment by the four unions to the long-term future of the international game is an important start as we embark in a new direction for both the unions and the organisation over the coming years.”

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