The departure of the Springboks from the Rugby Championship was news that hit hard in all rugby Southern hemisphere. From the Union of South Africa (SARU) they have already ratified that they analyze play with their teams on European Pro 14 and the calendars make the alliance with those selected under Ecuador hang by a thread.
“Since NZ Rugby turned down categorically that South Africa don’t follow participating in Rugby Championship“Says Stuff. On the contrary, they consider South Africa’s commitment to competition to be strong. For them, the tournament is an enormously valuable competition, as facing the Springboks is not only a sporting challenge but also produces significant commercial and high-performance benefits.
The benefits are mutual and many in South Africa view the All Blacks match as the game of the year. However, it is undeniable that the participation of South African teams in Pro 14 would present a series of complex challenges for the Springboks and the “well-being of the players” could once again become an issue. It is that the Celtic league begins around the same time as the Rugby Championship and runs until May. That means the Springboks would have little to no prep time for the SANZAAR tournament, miss a significant portion of the Pro 14 start, and play for 10 months out of the year, if the July window remains in place.
Faf de Klerk (Sale), Handre Pollard (Montpelier) and Damian de Allende (Munster) now play in European competitions, as do Eben Etzebeth (Toulon), Lood de Jager (Sale) and RG Snyman (Munster). The increasing number of South African players migrating to the Old Continent is a possible problem, but NZ Rugby also believe that the issue of ‘Regulation 9’, which guarantees the release of the player during the World Rugby windows is “resolved” and, therefore, it can be managed.
From NZ Rugby they know that they need South Africa for the sporting and economic well-being of the Union and they are convinced that “not being able to present a Springbok team” for Sanzaar competitions will not become a daily situation for South African rugby.