Reports from England suggest that Georgia will be included ahead of the Springboks in the Eight Nations tournament in November.
The tournament, with the teams divided into two pools, is set to start on 14 November following the conclusion of this season’s delayed Six Nations.
Initially, the contesting teams were the Six Nations sides along with Japan and Fiji, because New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and Argentina were not available to participate in the competition, as they are provisionally scheduled to play the delayed Rugby Championship in October.
But since Japan’s abrupt withdrawal from the eight-team tournament as confirmed on Thursday, organisers were thought to have been looking at South Africa to come on board in terms of participation.
However, the Telegraph reports that Georgia, not the Springboks, will be replacing Japan in the tournament, with official confirmation expected in the next couple of weeks.
According to the report, Georgia will be placed in the same group as England, Ireland and Wales. Scotland, France, Italy and Fiji will be in the second pool.
The Springboks are now left with the Rugby Championship, if they are to play Test rugby this year. Sanzaar hopes the Championship will take place in New Zealand from 7 November to 12 December.
However, with a South African domestic tournament only set to get under way in October, the Springboks could head into the tournament undercooked as they will have to leave the country by 18 October to comply with New Zealand’s quarantine rules.
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber had initially asked for six weeks of regular competition to get his players match fit, given that both New Zealand and Australia have already had a couple of months of their respective domestic tournaments.
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