SA Rugby confirmed last week that all club rugby in South Africa is cancelled for the rest of the year.
In a statement, SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said the only teams expected to appear in 2020 were the eight professional teams and those that fielded under-21 sides. All other competitions, as well as club rugby were cancelled.
“The risk associated with mass return to train and play has been highlighted by government and the timelines and practicalities are such that it is unrealistic that there will be a general return to play this year,” said Roux.
“Therefore, the members of the CovCom (the standing committee of member unions and experts which has been managing rugby’s response to the pandemic) opted to formally confirm that the only rugby to take place under their jurisdiction this year would feature the eight senior teams.”
Roux added that schools rugby did not fall under SA Rugby’s jurisdiction and any decision in that regard would be handled by the department of basic education.
This follows on the announcement earlier this year that all age group and junior rugby competitions like the Craven Week were cancelled.
What impact will this have on the club rugby leagues around the country? It clearly means that the status quo will remain with regard to promotion/relegation in 2020, with the promotions only taking effect in 2021, and the same with the relegated teams.
What will become a little tricky will be the Gold Cup and the Eastern Cape Super 14 competition. Announcements with regard to both will be eagerly awaited. The Gold Cup was in the process of expanding the number of clubs in their structure. The EC Super 14 has, for the first time, had 14 clubs this year, expanding from the 12-team format.
It will also effectively mean that the biggest razzmatazz in Komani, the HPJOC 10s, scheduled for November, will be affected as well as the East London 10s scheduled for December.
By Maxwell Levine