SA Rugby’s tough calls as Covid-19 continues to disrupt the game

World sport in 2020 has been almost completely destroyed by the Covid-19 outbreak. Almost, but not quite as SA Rugby clings to the hope that something can still be rescued in the latter part of the year. Like most businesses, SA Rugby has been slashing away at its budgets and plans to cut between R700m to R1bn from its budget over the next eight months to ensure the sport can survive in the aftermath of the pandemic. It’s implementing a financial plan after discussions with players, provincial unions and other stakeholders in the rugby industry. Salaries will be reduced though the final details have yet to be signed off. Quite simply, there are no games and SA Rugby has no income. SA Rugby’s Industry Financial Impact Plan has looked at a worst-case scenario where no rugby is played at all for the rest of the year. As CEO Jurie Roux put it: “It means we face a major belt-tightening exercise on a sport-wide and personal level; but without these measures we wouldn’t have much of a sport to return to.” – David O’Sullivan

From SA Rugby

SA Rugby has confirmed the cancellation of a number of events and continued contingency planning for others in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic it was announced on Tuesday, following extensive consultation between members of the local rugby industry.

“These are unprecedented times, not only for rugby in South Africa, but across all spheres of life all over the globe,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.

“Unfortunately, we had to make some very tough calls in terms of our local competitions, but we have the buy-in and support from the local franchises and unions, SAREO, MyPlayers and our broadcaster, SuperSport, in this regard.

“The decision to cancel certain competitions and tournaments is in line with what has been happening across various sporting codes all over the world – we are not shielded from this in South Africa.

“In terms of other teams’ participation in certain competitions, and the hosting of other tournaments, we are currently on a return to train and play readiness plan, but this is dependent on Government advice and decisions as the pandemic evolves.”

The tournaments which are still part of the planning for 2020, are:

  • Local franchise and union competition planned for June to August as alternative to Vodacom Super Rugby and Guinness PRO14
  • Currie Cup Premier and First Divisions
  • Provincial U21 Competition
  • SuperSport Rugby Challenge
  • Women’s Inter-Provincial competition
  • International matches involving the Springboks Men’s & Women’s teams
  • HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series involving the Blitzboks

Furthermore, the participation of the SA Rugby Sevens Academy and Springbok Women’s Sevens teams will be evaluated as international borders reopen and new dates are received for the World Series Qualifiers for 2020.

The following tournaments and competitions have been cancelled for 2020:

  • All SA Rugby Youth Weeks
  • SA Rugby Provincial U13 and U17 Sevens
  • SA Schools U18 Competition
  • SA Rugby Provincial U19 Week
  • SA Rugby Provincial U20 Competition
  • SA Rugby Provincial Sevens Competition

All club and community rugby is still postponed until further notice and SA Rugby reiterated its plea to all clubs, teams, players and coaches to adhere to the lockdown rules.


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