SA Rugby boss: We are united in crisis response

SA Rugby do not have a confirmed domestic or international calendar for the rest of 2020 at this time, but plans have been made for every eventuality, according to CEO Jurie Roux.

On Friday, SA Rugby completed its contingency planning to ‘save the sport’ as a result of the widespread impact of the coronavirus, which has sent the global industry into unprecedented territory.

In a statement sent out on Friday, the following points were made:

  • Players, staff, administrators, teams are aligning on next steps
  • Industry united in crisis response
  • Contingencies planned for all scenarios
  • ‘We will get through this’ message communicated to stakeholders 

Roux also insisted that SA Rugby was adequately prepared for any scenario, although admitted there could be no definitive decision made on any competition return dates at this stage.

‘Returning to play as soon as possible is critical for the industry and until we know what that date is – and if it is sustainable in the face of the crisis – we cannot accurately understand the impacts.

‘However, we have taken a realistic approach to the potential damage and have formulated a plan that will mitigate the immediate damage and provide the basis for an on-going response.’

Once approved, the plan would be made public, Roux added.

‘These are dark times but we are united in our approach and determined that together we will get through this.’

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Timeline: COVID-19 and South African Rugby

  • 11 March: COVID-19 Management Committee meets for the first time.
  • 12 March: Guinness PRO14 season is suspended indefinitely.
  • 13 March: World Rugby cancels the women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series tournament, that was due to be played in Stellenbosch on 28 and 29 March.
  • 13 March: SA Rugby cancels Junior Springbok home and away internationals in April and May.
  • 14 March: SANZAAR suspends Vodacom Super Rugby for the foreseeable future.
  • 16 March: SA Rugby suspends all national team training camps and business travel and orders cost savings; postpones kick off of SuperSport Rugby Challenge with a view to return to play on 25 April.
  • 16 March: SA Rugby announces actions and issues guidelines on safe practices to all rugby bodies.
  • 18 March: SA Rugby announces suspension of all rugby until the end of April and that discussions are underway to reschedule competitions to exclude international travel and be played behind closed doors.
  • 20 March: World Rugby cancels the Junior World Championship scheduled for Italy in June.
  • 23 March: President Cyril Ramaphosa announces nationwide lockdown to start from midnight on 26 March.
  • 24 March: IOC postpones the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games to 2021.
  • 27 March: SA Rugby, MyPlayers (players’ organisation), the South African Rugby Employers’ Organisation (SAREO) and Sports Employees’ Unite (SEU) confirm establishment of a joint working group to manage the response to the crisis.