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South Africa withdraw from this year's Rugby Championship due to player welfare concerns


South Africa in danger of going into next year’s Lions tour without playing a game for TWENTY MONTHS after withdrawing from the Rugby Championship due to player welfare concerns

  • South Africa withdrew from this year’s Rugby Championship on Friday
  • World champions cited complications over welfare and covid-19 protocols 
  • The Springboks could now go into Lions tour without playing for 20 months 

South Africa could go into next year’s Lions tour without playing a game for 20 months after they withdrew from the Rugby Championship.

The world champions pulled out of the competition on Friday citing complications over Covid-19 protocols and fears about player welfare.

They have not played a Test since last year’s World Cup final victory over England and it is too late for them to join the northern hemisphere’s Autumn Cup.

South Africa have withdrawn from the Rugby Championship due to player welfare concerns

South Africa have withdrawn from the Rugby Championship due to player welfare concerns

‘We worked out that the players needed a minimum of 400 minutes of game time before they could be ready for a Test match,’ said South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus.

‘The overseas-based players had started playing before us and they would have been getting close to that time by 7 November.

‘But many of those have completed their programmes or have had COVID outbreaks which has interrupted the planning. The Japanese based players haven’t played any rugby at all, while the home-based players would be well short of 400 minutes by the time of kick off.’

The Springboks now face the prospect of not playing a game for 20 months before Lions Tour

The Springboks now face the prospect of not playing a game for 20 months before Lions Tour

SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux added: ‘With time essentially having run out, it left us with no option. This is a hugely disappointing outcome for our supporters and commercial partners but the on-going impacts of the pandemic in multiple dispensations means we are unable to deliver a Springbok team without seriously compromising player welfare.’

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