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SANZAAR Announce 2020 Tri-Nations Series After South Africa Exit

S
ANZAAR has announced the South African team will not travel to Australia to play in The Rugby Championship 2020.

The competition was meant to see South Africa, Australia, Argentina and New Zealand all play off against one another, however, due to several factors including South African government travel restrictions, player welfare and safety concerns due to the ongoing effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ‘Springboks’ will remain in South Africa.

This now means SANZAAR will be reverting back to its original international competition format of the Tri-Nations, this time involving Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.

SAANZAAR chief executive officer, Andy Marinos, said it was disappointing the Springboks wouldn’t be competing in this year’s tournament.

“Naturally, it is extremely disappointing that the Springboks, due to the continued complexities of operating in and around this COVID environment, cannot fully compete in the previously planned six-round Rugby Championship,” Marinos said.

“SANZAAR recognises the challenges and adversity that the national unions have had to face this year due to the pandemic.

“It is a tribute to the Unions in how they have been able to adapt and, dependent on COVID restrictions, run domestic competitions with the exception of Argentina who has been impacted the hardest through their lockdown.

“These short domestic tournaments, and in Argentina’s case no domestic competition, are not the normal lead into an international window, and while it has been a far from ideal preparation we look forward to an exciting and vibrant Tri-Nations tournament,” he said.

South African Rugby chief executive officer, Jurie Roux, said the impact of the pandemic meant it was too difficult to play in the tournament.

“SANZAAR and Rugby Australia have bent over backwards to make the tournament happen and it would have been unfair on them and their partners and state government to delay a decision any longer,” Roux said.

“This is a hugely disappointing outcome for supporters and commercial partners but the ongoing impacts of the pandemic in multiple dispensations mean we are unable to deliver a Springbok team without seriously compromising player welfare, apart from other logistical challenges,” she said.

The first two matches involving Australia and New Zealand in the now-named Tri-Nations competition will also double up as the final two Bledisloe Cup series matches.