Picture: 123RF/WAVEBREAK MEDIA
Picture: 123RF/WAVEBREAK MEDIA

SA is said to be unlikely to co-host the Rugby Championship, but the Springboks may yet get to play on home soil in that tournament in 2021.

The AAP news agency quotes New Zealand Rugby boss Mark Robinson as saying that SA is focused on hosting the Test series against the British and Irish Lions in July and August and does not want to be involved in co-hosting the Rugby Championship in September and October.

“At this stage‚ they have signalled that they don’t wish to host the Rugby Championship this year‚” said Robinson.

But an SA Rugby spokesperson said “we are far from that decision”‚ no doubt still holding out hope the organisation can generate much-needed cash by having the Springboks play in front of packed stadiums in the Rugby Championship.

New Zealand‚ which in 2020 missed out on hosting any matches in that tournament‚ is desperate to get in on the act this time round.

“Our view at the moment is there may be a great opportunity to do a co-hosting format. We’ve got games the All Blacks are involved in we’d love to host in New Zealand‚ so that’ll be something we’re working towards.

“But ultimately that’s a decision for Sanzaar to make with the feedback of its joint venture partners.”

Australia‚ eager as ever‚ has its sights set on hosting the entire series as it did in 2020 when the event was played under the Tri-Nations format due to SA’s absence.

The Springboks have not played a Test since their triumph in the Rugby World Cup final in Yokohama in 2019. They will probably break that drought in the series against the Lions before squaring up for a landmark event.

Robinson said New Zealand was focused on hosting the 100th match against the Springboks‚ 100 years on from their first clash in Dunedin in 1921.

The All Blacks won that clash but the Springboks managed to draw the three-match series which set the tone for one of the sport’s most captivating and enduring rivalries.

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