Rassie sets Rugby Championship decision deadline

Rassie Erasmus says the Boks are desperate to play in the Rugby Championship, but there are obstacles before they will commit to the competition
Rassie Erasmus says the Boks  are desperate to play in the Rugby Championship, but there are obstacles before they will commit to the competition

If the world champion Springboks are to play at the Rugby Championship in Australia then a deadline of October 10 must be set for confirmation, SA’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus warned.

Erasmus says the Boks are “desperate” to play in the Rugby Championship, but there are obstacles before they will commit to the competition.

The competition will be staged in Australia from November 7 to 12 and the Boks face the prospect of being undercooked when they face rival teams.

“We desperately want to play, it will be terrible to go a year without the Springboks playing Test matches. That won’t be nice,” Erasmus said in a virtual news conference.

“But we have had one of the toughest lockdowns in the world and our players were indoors for months.

“In other countries players could train or at least go to the park to exercise, we did not have that.

“So if you look at the science, we have to get five or six matches into the players for their own welfare and to make it safe for them, and we are working out how to do that.

“Players probably need 500 minutes match time to be safe.”

Erasmus said English clubs were reluctant to release players in time for the start of the Rugby Championship.

“We would want to arrive in Australia at the same time, as you have to quarantine for two weeks, which is why you need to take a massive squad because if you get injuries, you can’t just bring someone new in,” he said.

Erasmus said SA’s management would want to confirm participation by October 10 at the latest.

“After the 10th, 46 players will have to go into a camp and do a bit of training and isolation before we get tested before we get onto the plane.

“We want to go, we know we have to go [from a financial point of view], we are just working out how we make it possible to go,” he said.

Players will get a chance to make their mark and see how close they can get to being international material in the Castle Lager Springbok Showdown at Newlands on Saturday.

Deon Davids and Mzwandile Stick, the respective coaches of the Gold and Green squads, will announce their match day squads on Wednesday afternoon.

The players arrived in Cape Town on Sunday and there was  a buzz of excitement in the Bok camp as preparations started for Saturday’s clash.

“Unfortunately we do have a few injuries ahead of the game,” Erasmus said. 

“And we always knew this would happen after a really tough lockdown.

“So I think last week’s games in the Super Fan Saturday at Loftus were great.”

Erasmus‚ who is also the team commissioner of the Green team,  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 the impact of a potential Covid-19 infection.

He was diagnosed with the condition in 2018.

- HeraldLIVE


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