Sanzaar has confirmed that SA Rugby has until Friday to decide on sending the Springboks to Australia for the Rugby Championship.
The Springboks are due to defend their title in Australia between 7 November and 12 December, but several hurdles need to be cleared for it to be confirmed.
The South African government lifted the ban on international sports participation a couple of weeks ago and directions to manage such participation were published last week.
SA Rugby was due to make a decision early this week, even though director of rugby Rassie Erasmus had previously indicated a deadline of 10 October.
In a media statement released on Wednesday, Sanzaar confirmed that SA Rugby will have another 48 hours in which to complete internal negotiations and make a decision on the Springboks’ participation in the tournament.
‘Following a Sanzaar chief executive’s teleconference call on Tuesday, 13 October, the Sanzaar member unions have agreed to provide South Africa Rugby with an additional 48 hours to finalise its internal stakeholder discussions,’ the statement read.
‘This will now delay the scheduled departure of the Springboks from South Africa to Australia. Sanzaar will provide an update on the resolution of these discussions and a timetable for the Springboks’ participation in the Rugby Championship when available in the coming days.’
The decision is likely to come down to player welfare and management, given that South Africa has only this past weekend started its domestic Super Rugby Unlocked tournament.
New Zealand and Australia, meanwhile, have both already completed their respective Super Rugby tournaments and played their first Bledisloe Cup match against each other last Sunday.
The next two upcoming Bledisloe Cup matches on Saturday, 31 October and Saturday, 7 November in Sydney and Brisbane, respectively, will be unaffected and will go ahead as planned.
Photo: EPA/Jan Touzeau