The latest indications that there could be a further easing of lockdown restrictions will heighten excitement that a local rugby competition will soon be confirmed for kick-off.
As recently reported by SARugbymag.co.za, early October is now the new prospective ‘relaunch’ date for domestic action to start, ultimately including 14 rounds of action before the playoffs.
If rumours are to be believed, the Cheetahs could be set to host the Pumas in the opening round, with the Lions travelling to face the Sharks in Durban, while the Vodacom Bulls face off against the Griquas at Loftus.
The Stormers could be set for a bye in the first round – with each team expected to have two byes throughout the competition – after the Kings’ withdrawal from action leaving the domestic tournament to be contested between seven sides.
Should all go ahead as planned, what will catch the eye is the potential for the competition to progress through November and December, which would include fixtures on Boxing Day and 2 January.
On Wednesday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) had received submissions from the religious community, tourism sector, sports fraternity and entertainers.
He added that he is planning to address the nation in the next week, with the indication that there is real consideration being given to relaxing Covid-19 restrictions further.
Plenty of planning from SA Rugby and communication with government has been ongoing for months, and from September all South Africa’s professional franchises returned to contact training.
Should South Africa drop to level 1 of lockdown, it should further support the return of ‘live’ rugby, which is particularly integral for the world champion Springboks.
It’s still hoped that the Boks will be able to take part in the Rugby Championship – now touted to be played in Australia – but it will be crucial that players are able to get through a couple of weeks of competitive action first.