South Africa and England will meet for the first time since the 2019 Rugby World Cup final when they clash at Twickenham on 20 November 2021 as part of the Springboks’ three-match tour of Europe.
England announced the big clash on Tuesday as part of their 2021 Autumn Internationals.
The announcement of the Twickenham encounter is the second confirmation of the Boks’ three-match tour of Europe in November 2021, following on last week’s announcement of the Test against Scotland a week earlier, on 13 November in Edinburgh.
The match at Twickenham will elicit fond memories for Springbok fans as the South Africans’ last match against England was a superb 32-12 victory at the International Stadium Yokohama in Japan to capture their third RWC crown.
This is also the Springboks’ first trip to Twickenham since 2018, when England narrowly edged the Boks by 12-11. Prior to that drama-filled encounter, the Springboks had beaten England 2-1 in a Castle Lager Incoming Series at home, the first time Rassie Erasmus took charge of the Boks on home soil.
Although the occasion is almost a full year away, Erasmus points to the growing anticipation in both countries for the clash at Twickenham, where the Boks last beat England in 2014.
“Any match involving England and the Springboks is always special,” reckons Erasmus.
“England are an incredibly proud rugby nation and in Eddie Jones they have an astute coach who will no doubt be working on a plan to outsmart the Springboks for our rematch at Twickenham.
“The history and rivalry between our two countries always make for a great contest and we are looking forward to play the English at their Twickenham fortress where it will require a special performance to match them.”
England head coach Eddie Jones said: “These will be some good games of rugby and tough tests for us as we work to improve ourselves as a team.
“South Africa are world champions and we’ll be looking to benchmark ourselves against them.
“We’ve not had the chance to play southern hemisphere teams this year, so it will be a good chance to see where we are up to and hopefully some great rugby for our supporters to enjoy.”
The name of the Springboks' third opponent, for the opening match of their European tour on 6 November next year, will be revealed in due course.
Springboks' 2021 European Tour opponents:
6 November: TBC
13 November: Scotland at BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh
20 November: England at Twickenham, London
Issued by SA Rugby Communications
The Springboks will travel to Edinburgh to face Scotland on 13 November 2021 as one of their end-of-year Tests in Europe next year, it was confirmed on Tuesday.
Scotland are set to host the reigning Rugby World Cup champions at BT Murrayfield, where the hosts will try and break an 11-year win drought against the South Africans.
The last time the Springboks lost to Scotland was by 21-17 at BT Murrayfield on 20 October 2010, with Dan Parks kicking all their points. Since then, the South Africans have won six on the trot against the Scots, including a RWC pool match England in 2015, and three Tests in Edinburgh.
In their last meeting in 2018, the Boks edged the match 26-20 mainly due to superior goal-kicking after both sides scored two tries apiece. Handré Pollard – one of the try scorers with Jesse Kriel the other – added two conversions and three penalty goals, while Elton Jantjies slotted the remaining penalty goal.
The Boks are set play the Scots as one of three internationals in Europe, with the other matches scheduled for 6 and 20 November 2021. The identity of the other two opponents on the traditional November tour will be confirmed in due course.
The Scottish Rugby Union have launched their tickets for next year’s big international meeting with the world champions and the encounter is expected to attract a sell-out crowd. Tickets for the match go on sale on scottishrugby.org this week.
Rassie Erasmus, Director of Rugby, said the Springboks can expect another very tough match on their return to BT Murrayfield next year.
“Scotland have established themselves as a very tough and difficult side to beat,” said Erasmus.
“Our last meeting two years ago went down to the wire and they will definitely be another huge threat, especially playing at home in front of a passionate Scottish crowd.”
Erasmus added that the Springboks will have to be at their very best to combat their hosts in the Northern Hemisphere in 2021: “Next year’s Tests will be the first time in three years the Springboks return to Europe, where the intense rivalry against tough opponents in different weather conditions will make for some very interesting Test match battles.”
Scotland head coach, Gregor Townsend said: “Fans, players and coaches will be looking forward to next year when Scotland face southern hemisphere opposition in Australia and the current world champions, South Africa at BT Murrayfield.
The Springboks didn’t tour in Europe last year due to the Rugby World Cup in Japan, while their annual northern hemisphere trip was cancelled this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which unfortunately resulted in no international action at all for the national team.
All the fixtures of the Springboks’ 2021 end-of-year tour will be confirmed in due course.
Issued by SA Rugby Communications
Rassie Erasmus and Siya Kolisi walked away with another set of awards on Thursday morning, a little more than a year after they spearheaded South Africa’s third triumph at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby and the Springbok captain were honoured at the Hollard Sports Industry Awards for 2020, which was staged digitally this year. The presentation takes place annually to celebrate achieving personalities and businesses in the South African sports industry.
On Thursday, Erasmus was presented with the Leadership in Sport Business Award, while Kolisi was honoured with the Sport Industry Personality of the Year accolade.
Francois Pienaar, the 1995 Springbok RWC-winning captain, presented Erasmus with his award, who described the tribute as both a big surprise and a great honour.
“I appreciate the award and the acknowledgement and I want to say thanks to everyone involved in staging the awards,” said Erasmus, who went on to thank the Springboks players, management staff and SA Rugby personnel who are working with the Springboks.
The Springboks have not been in action at all this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Pienaar asked Erasmus what was in store for 2021.
Erasmus replied: “Our planning is in place and we are looking good for next year’s British & Irish Lions tour. Our big challenge at the moment is that we want to transform that (RWC-winning) happiness into real hope and to do that we have to keep on winning as a team.”
Kolisi received his award from last year's winner, Annelee Murray, who is the long-serving Springbok PR Manager.
“This award is really a team award, an acknowledgement of the good work done by everyone involved with the Springboks, from the coaches and players to the medical staff and the rest of the management,” said Kolisi.
Asked about the prospects of facing the British & Irish Lions next year in the Springbok jersey, the Bok captained said: “We are all very excited about the tour and we want to prepare as hard as we can to be ready for what promised to be a fantastic Test series.”
According to the awards organisers, 2020 may have been a year to forget for the South African sports industry, but it was still preceded by some ground-breaking innovation and creativity towards the end of 2019, and the response to the COVID-19 crisis has been nothing short of inspiring.
Michael Johnson, the former multiple Olympic gold medallist and 200m and 400m world record holder, delivered the keynote address.
Issued by SA Rugby Communications
The Springboks’ memorable 2019 Rugby World Cup victory continue to inspire South Africans and although the Boks were unable to play any Test rugby this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, South Africans are in for a bumper 2021 rugby year, according to SA Rugby President Mr Mark Alexander.
Today marks the one-year anniversary of the Springboks’ memorable 32-12 victory over England in the International Stadium Yokohama in Japan, where Siya Kolisi and this Bok colleagues became the third Springbok team to lift the coveted Webb Ellis Cup.
The victory in Tokyo capped a memorable year for the Springboks, who were also crowned as the 2019 Castle Lager Rugby Championship winners, while the South African rugby team were also awarded with the prestigious 2019 Laureus Team of the Year Award in Monaco.
Mr Alexander praised Rassie Erasmus (Director of Rugby), his coaching staff and the entire squad for the amount of joy they brought to the people of South Africa by bringing the RWC trophy home.
“That magnificent victory once more showed that sport can be a great tool for social cohesion in our country,” said Mr Alexander.
“The past year was obviously a difficult year because of the pandemic, but next year we are in for a bumper rugby year when the Boks will play against the best of the UK and Ireland.
“I have no doubt they will continue to make this nation very proud with their performances on the field. On behalf of the South African rugby fraternity, I want to say once more thank you to the Springboks for inspiring so many of our people.”
Erasmus said every member of the squad that went to Japan deserves tremendous credit for their wonderful achievement.
“It was a full-on team effort, from players to coaches and management staff – they all worked incredibly hard and made many sacrifices to make that success a reality,” said Erasmus.
Erasmus said that looking back one year later, he is still amazed at the huge impact the victory had on all South Africans.
“It’s astonishing, really. I will never forget the amazing welcome scenes at the airport, or the many thousands of people that came out to share in the team’s joy during the victory parades.
“And, one year later, people still say how they enjoyed the win and how proud they are of that achievement,” added Erasmus.
Pieter-Steph du Toit scooped the World Rugby and SA Rugby Player of the Year Awards for 2019 with a string of stellar performances and described the triumph in Japan as the highlight of his rugby career.
“Looking back, one year later, you now truly appreciate how unbelievable it was to be part of the Springbok team to play in Japan,” said Du Toit.
“To be able to play in the Final and then win the Webb Ellis Cup was a dream came true, really. The celebrations afterwards were special, and I was very lucky to have my wife and baby boy with me, so that made it extra special.
“We had a team talk afterwards at the hotel and the families were also part of that, so that was amazing. The celebrations afterwards meant it was one of the best nights of my life!”
Handré Pollard was also one of the Bok heroes of that comprehensive victory over England, who were considered the favourites for the world title. The Springbok flyhalf scored 22 points with six penalty goals and two conversions.
“It’s been a crazy 2020, really, with everything that has happened with the pandemic,” said Pollard.
“But I am sure the RWC win is still something that make people look back with many happy memories.
“The Final was obviously the highlight of the tournament. The celebrations afterwards at the hotel, the travel back to SA and then that amazing victory tour on the bus to show the trophy to the people are all truly amazing memories.”
The RWC tournament also brought the curtain down on the careers of a trio of very experienced Springboks, namely Tendai Mtawarira, Francois Louw and Schalk Brits.
Louw, who is still based in England where he has started with the next chapter in his life, said: “To walk off that field as world champions is hands down the greatest moment of my rugby career.
“What a celebration afterwards, simply electric from the moment we got back into our team hotel in Tokyo all the way to South Africa. Experiencing those moments with the fans is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life,” added Louw.
Mtawarira has ventured into business since his retirement and is studying full-time for his MBA following a short and COVID-19 interrupted club rugby stint in the USA.
“I played in two previous RWC tournaments and to eventually to lift the Webb Ellis Cup in my final Test, wow, I can’t even put it into words,” said the former Bok front ranker.
“When I think back, I see the unbelievable tenacity of the team, and when I think of what happened this year, it’s been an unbelievable tragedy.
“That victory stood for so much more than just rugby, so many people from so many different backgrounds and cultures – we showed that when you come together and buy into a plan and work towards a common goal, that you can achieve greatness.
“It’s still an unbelievable feeling and for me, viewing Chasing the Sun series is so incredible to watch because it brings back so many happy memories.”
Willie le Roux was also one of the Bok heroes in Japan, where he courageously played in the knock-out stages despite hurting his shoulder in the quarter-final victory over hosts, Japan.
He also said that “Chasing the Sun”, the five-part DSTV documentary showcasing the Springboks’ RWC victory, has brought back a flood of memories.
“Growing up as a boy in South Africa that is all you want to do, to play rugby and win the Rugby World Cup,” said Le Roux.
“The Final went by so fast and the documentary series, as well as the replays of the Final, gave me chance to look back and truly appreciate the massive occasion. The fans were unbelievable when we came back, and I am so grateful to be a part of such a great success story.”
Issued by SA Rugby Communications
SA Rugby and FNB confirmed on Tuesday that the South African banking giant has extended its sponsorship of the Springboks for a further five years.
The new agreement will stretch FNB's association with the team to eight years in total, with the bank's iconic acacia tree logo to continue to feature on the jersey above the playing number.
Renewal discussions began before last year's Rugby World Cup and were concluded before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are delighted to confirm FNB’s continued association with the Springboks,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.
“FNB have been a great partner since they joined us in the 2017 season and have supported us in many was beyond a pure sponsorship.
“They showed faith in the Springboks at a challenging time, but I trust and believe that we have been good for each other as the team has developed and enjoyed success in 2019.
“It’s worth noting that our renewal conversations began long before the Rugby World Cup to underline the nature of the relationship.”
FNB's logo first appeared on the team jersey in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship Test against Argentina in Port Elizabeth in August 2017.
Faye Mfikwe, FNB Chief Marketing Officer said: “We are honoured to continue our association with the Springboks. FNB is immensely proud of the team’s achievements and commitment to unifying the country to foster social cohesion.
“Over the last four years, our collective contribution has provided a platform for South Africa’s youth to showcase their sporting talent on the global stage.
“The Springboks not only inspire South Africans to have ‘hope’ but also strive to building a stronger nation. We are looking forward to continuing a winning journey with the team.”
Roux added: “We look forward to continuing our successful relationship in the seasons to come. SA Rugby is proud to partner with one of the strong pillars of South African business.”
FNB is the oldest bank in South Africa, and can be traced back to the Eastern Province Bank formed in Grahamstown in 1838. Today, FNB trades as a division of FirstRand Bank Limited. The Acacia tree in our brand logo is a suitable representation of our history. Our roots run deep in South Africa, and we have grown thanks to our commitment to serving the needs of our clients and communities.
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SA Rugby advised amateur clubs, universities, associate members and schools on Thursday that their COVID-19 Committee (CovCom) had approved a proposal to allow teams to return to training under certain strict conditions, although a return to play will not be permitted in 2020.
The resumption of amateur rugby training follows the gazetting of new regulations on sport by the Departments of Basic Education and of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC).
“In the past couple of weeks, the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture has permitted several sports to allow their amateur constituents to return to training and match play,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.
“Earlier this month the DSAC released a statement to be read in conjunction with the gazetted regulations that said athletes, support staff and official involved in non-professional sport do not have to undergo COVID-19 testing before returning to train, but only had to ensure that a robust screening system was in place for training to commence.
“They do not have to submit their operational return to training plans to the Minister for approval. We decided to approve the resumption of training for the SA Rugby and the Provincial Union Elite Player Development programmes, rugby at amateur and community clubs and for associations affiliated to Provincial Unions and SA Rugby, but on certain strict conditions.”
The conditions include, among other things, financial considerations, control measures to curb the transmission of the virus, as well as adherence to requirements of the SA Rugby Return to Train and Play Guidelines for Amateur Rugby. The rules are required to be enforced by provincial unions.
All rugby bodies have been instructed to follow the “Integrated Return to Training” framework, as an injury mitigation strategy. It requires four weeks of fitness and strength training, followed by four weeks of gradual integration of contact rugby skills.
A set of guidelines will be circulated to all teams wishing to return to training through their provincial unions. These will include: signing indemnification and declaration of health forms; the appointment of a compliance officer; registration of all players, officials and staff on a club data base; screening and education of players, officials and staff; cleaning and sanitation of training venues, apparel and facilities; and to ensure no spectators are permitted at training or matches.
SA Rugby also advised that amateur rugby matches will not be permitted to take place for the remainder of 2020, and teams may only start competitive action with the commencement of the 2021 rugby season.
However, non-contact rugby, such as TAG or Touch Rugby, can resume once the four weeks of fitness and strength training have been concluded.
Advice on the resumption of competitive play at the community level will be confirmed in due course.
Issued by SA Rugby Communications
SA Rugby’s BokSmart Rugby Safety programme has embraced a digital future to combat the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, following a landmark sponsorship agreement with sports software specialist, SportsCap.
The agreement will allow the national rugby safety programme to continue training coaches and match officials in safe practices through a ‘MyBokSmart’ app – despite the constraints enforced by the pandemic.
The new software programme will house a BokSmart Certification Software Ecosystem (BCSE) to support the various aspects of BokSmart’s internal and external operations.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way business and the world operates, and we are delighted that we will enter into the ‘new normal’ with SportsCap as our partners,” said SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux.
“BokSmart and SportsCap have developed a good relationship in the past few years in other operational aspects of the programme, and we are pleased to see them coming on board as an official partner.
“This new system will not only enable us to offer a non face-to-face option to BokSmart training, it will also benefit the coaches and referees immensely by allowing them the opportunity to complete their certifications in their own time.”
Dr Wayne Viljoen, SA Rugby Senior Manager for Rugby Safety, said various elements were being planned for the BCSE: “We will have an upgraded internal certification system database, an internal reporting system, and an external BokSmart Certification Check App,” said Dr Viljoen.
“The main aspect of the BCSE will be the ‘MyBokSmart’ web portal, web-API and App that will be developed over the next year. In addition to this, new components will be created in the future as the system develops and expands.”
SportsCap Managing Director Dale Toy was delighted to sponsor the project and said: “This is the start of a new era for BokSmart and we are looking forward to being part of their journey towards a digital future.
“By moving BokSmart online we are breaking through the ceiling by not only strengthening the relationship with the existing stakeholders but expanding it to include players, parents, medical staff and administrators.
“Along with the BCSE we are also creating systems designed specifically for clubs and schools to make compliance with BokSmart and rugby in general both simple and time efficient.
“We have been involved with BokSmart behind the scenes for a few years now, and have seen first-hand the impact that it has had on making the game both safer and more accessible.
“It is a privilege to now be an official partner and part of the team driving this,” added Toy.
Apart from online BokSmart certifications, ‘MyBokSmart’ will allow coaches, referees, players, and even medical staff to register and view certain modules on rugby safety from their devices of choice, such as laptops, mobile phones and tablets.
Once registered on the App, BokSmart will become a self-controlled access point for coaches and referees to be able to direct their personal journeys with the programme, and once verified, to change, update or edit basic personal information that is currently on the BokSmart Certification System database.
Medical support personnel for rugby teams will also be able to get themselves certified in future via the online or App-based course, which will extend the reach of the programme, while one or two modules will even be aimed at player education.
‘MyBokSmart’ will also be used as an information hotspot for all who have registered on the App, to receive key notifications, new information pieces, regulations, documents, videos and infographics that may have significance.
Issued by SA Rugby Communication
Springbok Green turned on Test-style rugby to come away with a 25-9 victory and bragging rights over Springbok Gold in the Castle Lager Springbok Showdown as South African rugby took another step back to full competitive play with a second, post lockdown run out.
Greens’ forward power and kicking game was a deliberate plan, said their coach Mzwandile Stick: “We wanted to make it as close as possible to a test match.
“We wanted to put pressure in the air and we didn’t want to give them time and space with ball in hand. We wanted to use our set piece and kicking game – that’s what the Springbok game is all about,” added Stick.
The tactics led to three tries for the Green team – by Siya Kolisi, Juarno Augustus and a penalty try – although the primary objective was simply to get back onto the field in a Springbok environment.
“The reason for the game was to showcase the talent and also to build experience and share information between the senior players and the youngsters,” said Deon Davids, coach of Springbok Gold.
“The young players have been exposed to the Springbok environment and it was a wonderful week in our team – and it was from what I hear from team Green as well – with the senior players sharing their experience and offering guidance.
“It was also a fantastic opportunity to look at the players’ ability in training and see where they are in terms of preparation and what is needed. It is very early in the ‘season’ – this was only the second game – and we’ll get more answers from hereon in.
“We hope the players have learned some valuable lessons and will take those back in order to become better players.”
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi also highlighted the value of the interaction with the large number of uncapped players among the 50-strong line-up – and additional ‘young guns’ who had spent the week with the teams.
“It was really special for all of us and for me personally to see the young guys,” said Kolisi.
“I wanted to make sure the guys felt welcome and spent some time sitting down with them. It was special to see them perform tonight.
“We are in a good place as South African rugby with our talent, but we are a long way off in terms of fitness and match readiness from where we were at the World Cup.”
Stick said that the players and management were now preparing if the team’s participation is confirmed for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship in Australia.
“It’s not in our hands,” he said.
“Our job is to make sure that we prepare the players. Since the start of the year and during lockdown there was a lot of information shared between us and the players.
“We are doing everything in our power to make sure the players are ready, but because they haven’t played for six months it’s also very important to manage the players.
“We don’t want to put them under pressure and play them for 80 minutes week-in-week-out; even now you can see players getting small, little injuries. So, the most important thing right now is player welfare and how we look after them.
“If our executive and director of rugby, Rassie Erasmus, decide we have to go then we will do everything in our power to make sure we’re ready to go.”
The domestic season will now resume on Friday with the first round of Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked.
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Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok captain Siya Kolisi will resume his leadership duties in the national team colours on Saturday for the first time since lifting the Webb Ellis Cup after being named alongside Springbok team-mate Lukhanyo Am as the captains of the Green and Gold teams for the Castle Lager Springbok Showdown.
The Green team is coached by Mzwandile Stick, with SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus serving as the team commissioner, while Deon Davids is the Gold team coach and Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber the team commissioner.
The experienced Springbok duo will lead two teams featuring the best of the best in South Africa; Rugby World Cup winners, seasoned internationals and rising stars determined to showcase their skills with an eye on making a step up to national level.
Stick was forced to make three changes to his match-day squad for the clash after Oupa Mohoje (utility forward) tested positive for COVID-19, although he is asymptomatic, and as a precautionary measure Trevor Nyakane (prop) was withdrawn from the squad after being in close contact with his former Toyota Cheetahs team-mate.
Furthermore, former Junior Springbok utility back Mnombo Zwelendaba was ruled out due to a hip injury.
As a result, three young guns have been called into the Springbok Gold team – Kwenzo Blose (prop), Kade Wolhuter (flyhalf) and JJ van der Mescht (lock). All three players have been named on the bench.
Stick was excited about his team, despite the enforced changes: “We have a good balance in our team if you look at the mix between the youngsters and senior players,” he said.
“We have the likes of Siya Kolisi, Duane (Vermeulen), Elton (Jantjies) and Frans (Steyn) that were with us at the Rugby World Cup in Japan, while we worked with some of the youngsters at a junior level, and it is great to give them a taste of a Test week.”
Davids was equally pleased with his team’s preparations: “The week has gone very well so far, with good enthusiasm at training and a great eagerness to learn and to absorb what is happening in this special environment,” he said.
“We will see a fascinating battle between two interesting and exciting team combinations, each one consisting of experienced RWC winning Springboks, established franchise players, some Blitzboks and some really good youngsters coming through the ranks.”
Stick, who admitted it was great to see the domestic players back in action after the country was forced into lockdown six months ago, expected an entertaining clash and said they were excited to see what the players would dish up on Saturday.
“We would like to give the players the freedom to express themselves, and to showcase their talent and bring that X-factor,” said Stick.
“If you look at the likes of Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe, they use their chances one-on-one, and we would like to give these young players the opportunity to do that. With the experienced players around them, I think it will be a good match.
“The game might open up in the later stages, but we are going to respect this match. The Gold team also has quality players, so we will try to play a well-balanced game, and if it opens up, we will look to take our opportunities.”
Davids said with the DHL Stormers relocating to the Cape Town Stadium next year, it would be a special occasion for the Cape-based players in both squads.
“We have a number of DHL Stormers players in our ranks for whom this match will be a very special occasion, playing on the beautiful field of the famous DHL Newlands stadium,” said Davids.
Am, meanwhile, kicked off the banter between the teams in the build-up to the match saying: “I’m not letting any secrets out the bag, but we have surprises in store for the Green squad.”
15 – Gianni Lombard
14 – Yaw Penxe
13 – Wandisile Simelane
12 – Frans Steyn
11 – Malcolm Jaer
10 – Elton Jantjies
9 – Sanele Nohamba
8 – Duane Vermeulen
7 – Arno Botha
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain)
5 – Hyron Andrews
4 – JD Schickerling
3 – Luan de Bruin
2 – Bongi Mbonambi
1 – Ox Nche
16 – Schalk Erasmus
17 – Kwenzo Blose
18 – Thomas du Toit
19 – JJ van der Mescht
20 – Juarno Augustus
21 – Junior Pokomela
22 – Embrose Papier
23 – Manie Libbok
24 – Jeremy Ward
25 – Kade Wolhuter
15 – Warrick Gelant
14 – Rosko Specman
13 – Lukhanyo Am (captain)
12 – Rikus Pretorius
11 – Courtnall Skosan
10 – Damian Willemse
9 – Herschel Jantjies
8 – Sikhumbuzo Notshe
7 – Nizaam Carr
6 – Marco van Staden
5 – Marvin Orie
4 – Salmaan Moerat
3 – Ruan Dreyer
2 – Scarra Ntubeni
1 – Steven Kitshoff
16 – Dylan Richardson
17 – Dylan Smith
18 – Carlü Sadie
19 – Jason Jenkins
20 – James Venter
21 – Vincent Tshituka
22 – Ivan van Zyl
23 – Curwin Bosch
24 – Werner Kok
25 – Manuel Rass
Issued by SA Rugby Communications
A Special General Meeting of the South African Rugby Union (SARU) voted on Tuesday to explore entering four teams into an expanded PRO Rugby competition as well as retaining a place in a revised SANZAAR competition.
The four teams voted to potentially make the transition were the existing Vodacom Super Rugby franchises – the Vodacom Bulls, the Emirates Lions, the Cell C Sharks and the DHL Stormers.
The decision was taken by the 13 voting member unions of SARU at a specially convened meeting to determine international participation and competition formats in a COVID-impacted rugby environment. The Border Rugby Union – which is under administration – currently has its voting powers suspended.
The new direction was determined by the SARU General Meeting as it is the highest authority in rugby. Among other things, it has responsibility for the “approval or the amendment and rescission of any decision regarding the format, structure, competition rules and composition of SARU’s major senior domestic competition currently known as the Currie Cup or its successor as well as determining the SA teams to participate in Super Rugby competitions by special resolution.”
The meeting rejected the first option of remaining in a PRO14 format and leaving four franchises to engage in potential successor SANZAAR domestic formats.
SA Rugby would now accelerate preliminary conversations with PRO Rugby Championship DAC on SA Rugby’s representation in the competition. PRO Rugby Championship DAC is the owner of PRO14 and is a joint venture between the rugby unions of Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Italy.
The General Meeting also opted to continue conversations with SANZAAR about entering a team into a modified “Super Series” format, on the proviso that a commercial model was developed to make their entry cost neutral at least, once agreement had been reached with SANZAAR. The meeting agreed that the Toyota Cheetahs would be proposed as the South African entry to such a competition.
Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby, said the meeting and options had been presented as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the unilateral decision by the New Zealand Rugby Union to proceed with a domestic or trans-Tasman competition.
Roux said New Zealand’s decision made it impossible to deliver the 14-team Vodacom Super Rugby competition that had been agreed by the partners and for which five-year broadcasting agreements had been signed.
“Our members are excited about the prospect of closer alignment with PRO Rugby Championship and seeking a northern hemisphere future, but we would not have been taking this decision but for actions elsewhere,” said Roux.
In a second decision the meeting determined the domestic and Currie Cup formats for 2021.
It will feature two competitions:
Mr Mark Alexander, SA Rugby president, thanked the membership for its deliberations and the outcomes.
“These are extraordinary times, if this had been an ordinary year, we would not have had this meeting,” he said.
“But we needed to take radical steps to avoid financial meltdown because of the COVID-19 crisis.”
Roux said that SA Rugby remained committed to the SANZAAR partnership and participation in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship.
“We will advise our SANZAAR partners of the General Meeting’s decision,” Roux said.
“We remain part of the joint venture and will pursue the ‘Super Series’ discussions in good faith.”
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