Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus. Picture: REUTERS
Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus. Picture: REUTERS

The Springboks have until October 10 to confirm whether they will be taking part in the Rugby Championship, SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus says.

The tournament starts in Australia on November 10‚ but the Boks will have to be there well before then for quarantine purposes.

SA’s domestic tournament‚ which will be called Super Rugby Unlocked kicks off on October 9 when the Sharks host the Lions in Durban.

Erasmus‚ who is also the team commissioner of the Green team that will play the Gold team at the Springbok Showdown at Newlands on Saturday‚ is working remotely because of a rare condition that causes inflammation of the blood vessels including in the throat and lungs‚ which increases vulnerability to a potential Covid-19 infection. He was diagnosed with the condition in 2018.

“It’ll have to be done after the 10th because 46 players have to go into camp‚ do a bit of training‚ isolation and get tested before we get onto the plane because the arrival date there is the 18th,” he said.

“Two weeks after that because of quarantine‚ Australia and New Zealand will have played each other. So they’ll play in the first round of the domestic tournament‚ gather on October 11‚ be together‚ train and travel. The decision will be made for us and we won’t be able to make that decision on our own‚ but it can’t be later than the last game on October 10.

“We want to play Springbok rugby and it’ll be terrible to go through a year without Test rugby.”

The Springboks will still need government approval to get out of the country and get their overseas-based players into SA.

Gold team commissioner and national team coach Jacques Nienaber has this headache to deal with‚ along with the expected reticence of the European teams to release their SA players for an extended period.

“There’s no green light from the government with regards to international sporting participation,” Nienaber said. “That’s out of our hands at the moment. Once that happens‚ there are other factors like the isolation period in Australia and the minute detail of the quarantine still needs to be spelt out to us. 

“World Rugby has put out the regulation nine‚ which allows the players to be with us‚ but there’s been a bit of a pushback from the French and the English clubs. That would be slightly problematic as that would have a massive influence on the isolation period.”

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