But some still believe SA should opt out of Rugby Championship

Boks set to face Argentina in opener

Siya Kolisi goes on the charge during a 2018 Rugby Championship match between SA and New Zealand at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria
DIFFERENT NOW: Siya Kolisi goes on the charge during a 2018 Rugby Championship match between SA and New Zealand at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria

If the Springboks do manage to get on a plane for Australia, then their opening match in  the  Castle Lager Rugby Championship will be against Argentina in Brisbane on November 7.

The jury is still out on whether the Boks will travel to Australia, because there are fears they might be under-cooked because of a lack of game time in domestic rugby.

SA Rugby CEO Jurie has said several hurdles needed to be cleared before Bok captain Siya Kolisi and his team could travel to Australia.

However, every effort will be made to get the Boks on the plane to Australia because the financial benefits of playing in the tournament will be huge for cash-strapped SA Rugby.

In recent poll, fans said SA Rugby should prioritise a full-strength  Currie Cup rather than send a team to Australia.

Former Springbok captain Wynand Claassen believes SA should skip the 2020 Rugby Championship and focus on the 2021 British and Irish Lions tour.

Claassen says travelling to Australia to compete in the Rugby Championship would not be in the best interest of the Springboks, and that SA Rugby should take a stand and withdraw from the competition at least for 2020.

Though SA’s participation in the event has yet to be confirmed, Sanzaar has revealed the intended playing schedule for the 12-match, six-week tournament, which will take place in in Brisbane, Newcastle and Sydney between November 7 and December 12.

The Boks are scheduled to play back-to-back matches against New Zealand — with an away game in Sydney before “hosting” the same opponents in Newcastle — before the tournament returns to Sydney for the final two rounds.

SA’s participation remains conditional on the relaxation of the government’s current ban on international sporting participation, and the outcome of assessments of high performance and player welfare issues.

Sanzaar  explained the incoming teams (Argentina, New Zealand and SA) would be required to observe all health regulations around their squads as imposed by the New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland governments.

The teams will be kept separate by operating within a “bubble” during this period with all teams operating in clean environments controlled by NSW police.

The wellness of the squads will be continually monitored in line with NSW Heath requirements.

Sanzaar CEO Andy Marinos said: “It has taken a lot of hard work to get to this point, but we are delighted that we can now confirm the match dates and venues for the Rugby Championship 2020.

“The Rugby Championship is one of the game’s showpiece events and includes some of the best rugby talent in the world.

“The six double-header Saturdays are a first for the tournament and will produce an exciting feast of rugby for spectators at the venues who will actually be getting two world-class international tests for the price of one entry ticket.

“Thanks to our committed family of broadcasters this action will also be delivered to the living rooms of our overseas rugby fans providing a rugby feast similar to what we experienced a year ago with the Rugby World Cup,” Marinos said.

Kickoff times for the double-header matches will be announced in due course.

The Castle Lager Rugby Championship 2020 fixtures

Round One — Saturday November 7

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Argentina v SA

Australia v New Zealand

Round Two — Saturday November 14

Bankwest Stadium, Sydney

New Zealand v Argentina

SA v Australia

Round Three — Saturday November 21

ANZ Stadium, Sydney

New Zealand v SA

Australia v Argentina

Round Four — Saturday November 28

McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle

Argentina v Australia

SA v New Zealand

Round Five — Saturday December 5

Bankwest Stadium, Sydney

Argentina v New Zealand

Australia v SA

Round Six — Saturday December 12

ANZ Stadium, Sydney

SA v Argentina

Australia v New Zealand

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