JOHANNESBURG – If the world champion Springboks take part in a delayed Rugby Championship competition in New Zealand later this year they will be allowed to include all of their overseas-based players.
That was the good news to come out of a World Rugby meeting that has approved a temporary adjustment to Regulation 9 to accommodate the release of international players for the revised calendar, due to the suspension of most rugby across the globe because of Covid-19.
New Bok boss, Jacques Nienaber, will thus be allowed to pick, among others, Vincent Koch, Eben Etzebeth, RG Snyman, Lood de Jager, Franco Mostert, Faf de Klerk, Handre Pollard, Damian de Allende, Cheslin Kolbe and Willie le Roux, who all play abroad and featured for the Boks in last November’s Rugby World Cup triumph.
World Rugby said in a press release on Thursday: “The adjustments to the regulation has been approved as a temporary measure to mitigate the unprecedented impact of Covid-19 on global rugby activities and provides a welcome boost for players, teams, fans and broadcast and commercial partners.”
The window approved by World Rugby for player release will be from October 24 to the first weekend of December, while the Rugby Championship will be held from November 7 to the second week of December.
The window will accommodate the completion of the men’s and women’s Six Nations on October 24 and 31, a rest weekend on November 7 and four consecutive rounds of international matches.
Good news for all teams set to play Tests in new 2020 window from October to December, incl Rugby Champs; adjustment to regulation 9 means all clubs must release players for Test duty. @Springboks will thus be able to call on all Europe/Japan-based players for RC. @IOLsport https://t.co/gWXBOSHl5g
— Jacques vdWesthuyzen (@jacq_west) July 30, 2020
The Rugby Championship will take place over a reduced six-week period between November 7 and the second week of December, with New Zealand set to host.
“These matches will be greatly anticipated by all, and I would like to thank all the unions, club competitions and players for their input and the fans for their patience as we have sought to get international rugby back up and running,” said World Rugby chairman, Sir Bill Beaumont.
The Springboks’ participation in the Rugby Championship is dependent on SA Rugby hosting a domestic competition, currently set to include eight teams, from early September. Nienaber has, however, stated that were a Currie Cup-like competition not get off the ground, it would almost be impossible to expect the Boks to defend their title in New Zealand.
SA Rugby are awaiting government approval for them to host a competition behind closed doors in what will possibly be a “bio-bubble”. The country’s professional players from the eight teams only returned to non-contact training 10 days ago and have yet to be given the green light to make full contact.