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SA Rugby welcomes govt go-ahead for return to competitive action

In a press release from SA Rugby, it was confirmed that 'Mr Nathi Mthethwa, the Minister for Sports, Arts and Culture… [has allowed] for a return to competitive action subject to compliance with measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19'.

The Sharks secured a 32-27 victory in their coastal Currie Cup clash against the Western Province in Durban on 20 July 2019. Picture: @TheSharksZA/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - SA Rugby CEO, Jurie Roux, has thanked the South African government after it was announced on Thursday that “rugby has been given the green light to return to the playing fields.”

In a press release from SA Rugby, it was confirmed that “Mr Nathi Mthethwa, the Minister for Sports, Arts and Culture… [has allowed] for a return to competitive action subject to compliance with measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19".

“We are very grateful for the opportunity to move to the next phase of our return-to-play plans and will provide the department with all the necessary information required, such as venues for matches, to ensure a smooth transition to competitive rugby,” said Roux.

He went on to say that it would not be a sudden return.

“Having said that our eight franchise teams that returned to the training field recently still need a few more weeks of preparation before they will be ready for matches, and from SA Rugby’s side, we will assist them with whatever is necessary. At this stage, we hope to have our first matches by early to mid-September and our plans on the structure of the planned competition will be announced in due course, as we have various options to consider,” Roux added.

Although exciting news for our domestic competitions, the statement confirmed that “the return to international competition is not permitted under the new regulations”.

Roux is hoping that the newly dated Rugby Championship is a possibility for the Springboks.

“We know the World Rugby window for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship is only in November and December, so we’re hopeful that in due course the government will be in a position to further relax the restrictions,” said Roux.

“For now, it’s the most important thing is to ensure we get the action underway as we have many stakeholders, such as our broadcast partner, competition and team sponsors and our supporters, who are keen to see rugby again.”

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