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A big shakeup is coming in South African rugby if the measures introduced to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic continue for some time. SA Rugby has announced that plans to restructure local rugby competitions are currently being discussed which could see the South African franchises adopt a locally-based competition. SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux is discussing options with the franchises, SuperSport and sponsors to change Super Rugby, PRO14 and, presumably, the Currie Cup if the pandemic lasts that long. It’s still early days and no specifics have been agreed upon. What is clear is that SA Rugby is keen to get something up and running when the period of social distancing is over. As Roux put it: “These are extraordinary times which call for extraordinary measures and it also offers us an opportunity to be innovative.” – David O’Sullivan
SA Rugby would throw its full weight behind the government’s policies and objectives in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Mark Alexander, SA Rugby president, said on Wednesday.
The Minister for Sports, Arts & Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa, briefed national sports federations on the government’s plans on Tuesday and called on sports bodies to support the campaign.
“We wholeheartedly and without hesitation are completely aligned to the government’s aggressive approach to attempting to curb this pandemic,” said Mr Alexander.
“All rugby has been suspended until the end of April and we have changed our business practices to support the need for ‘social distancing’.
“I call on the entire rugby fraternity to play their part in support of the government in curbing this pandemic. The Springboks showed last year that we as a nation are stronger when we are together and now is the time for all of us to act.
“We will continue to support government initiatives and directives and follow the advice of the Department of Health and other advisory bodies to beat back the disease.”
SA Rugby has followed government advice by cancelling all internal travel – unless business critical – and all international travel – under any circumstances – until further notice.
The organisation’s office remains open although an optional work-from-home policy has been introduced during the national emergency to allow for social distancing and self-isolation among other protocols.
“All face-to-face committee meetings have either been postponed or turned into online meetings and we continue to review forthcoming competitions,” said Mr Alexander.
“These are unprecedented times and require unprecedented responses as well as the support, understanding and whole-hearted engagement of all engaged in sport.”
SA Rugby would continue to keep all stakeholders informed of activities as a highly fluid situation evolved, said Mr Alexander.
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