Speculation about the participation of World Cup holders South Africa in this year Rugby Championship in Australia has gone to another level after the Springboks were given a 48-hour ultimatum by their partners in SANZAAR. 

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Fears are growing that the initially agreed six-round tournament will not go ahead as currently formatted, the Springboks concerned that their November 7 opener against Argentina in Brisbane is coming too soon for a squad of players that has played little or no rugby since last March’s stoppage of rugby around the world.

While players in New Zealand and Australia were back in action by June and July respectively, the restart has taken much longer to happen in South Africa where there have been only three rounds of matches so far, two weekends with the Super Rugby sides and the other as part of a Springboks trial. 

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Updating their situation, SA Rugby issued a statement that read: “SANZAAR announced overnight that following a chief executives’ teleconference call on Tuesday, October 13, the SANZAAR member unions have agreed to provide SA Rugby with an additional 48 hours to finalise its internal stakeholder discussions on participation. 

“This will now delay the scheduled departure of the Springboks from South Africa to Australia. SANZAAR said it would provide an update on the resolution of these discussions and a timetable for the Springboks participation in The Rugby Championship when available in the coming days.”

Speculation about the participation of the Springboks accelerated last weekend when SA Rugby issued a previous statement that failed to state they would definitely be playing in Australia, igniting the speculation of recent days.

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That statement read: “The Springboks’ ability to participate in the Rugby Championship would be finalised early next week. 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.”

 

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