South Africa Rugby gets green light to return to play

·1-min read
Rugby Union - South Africa v France
Rugby Union - South Africa v France

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - The South African government has approved the return to play conditions for professional rugby in the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing for domestic competition to start in the first two weeks of September.

South African Rugby confirmed their plans, which include playing games behind closed doors, had been approved and published on Thursday.

"We are very grateful for the opportunity to move to the next phase of our return-to-play plans," SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux said in a media release.

"At this stage, we hope to have our first matches by early to mid-September and our plans on the structure of the planned competition will be announced in due course, as we have various options to consider."

South Africa’s Super Rugby and PRO14 teams have been inactive since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With travel and quarantine regulations still in place, the teams have previously touted an eight-team local season to replace those competitions for sponsors and broadcasters.

SA Rugby are also keen to see their leading players back in action as they look towards the proposed Rugby Championship set to be staged in New Zealand starting in November.

The World Cup-winning Springboks are also the holders of the Southern Hemisphere championship.

(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Toby Davis)