World champions South Africa will not play at home this year

Johannesburg (AFP) –


World champions South Africa will not host any Tests this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, national rugby union chief executive Jurie Roux said Tuesday during a virtual media briefing.

July internationals against Scotland and Georgia were cancelled several months ago and Rugby Championship fixtures with Argentina, Australia and New Zealand were scheduled for August and September.

By late Monday, South Africa had 373,628 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 disease and 5,173 deaths, with the pandemic yet to peak in the most affected African country.

Roux did not, however, rule out the possibility of the Springboks playing abroad later this year.

He said there could be a revamped Rugby Championship in New Zealand, and talks were ongoing regarding a tour of Europe.

Triple world champions South Africa are due to play Italy, Ireland, France and Wales during November.

The cancellation of all six home internationals is a huge financial blow to the national union, which made small profits in the last two years.

South Africa won the World Cup a record-equalling third time last November by defeating England 32-12 in the final in Japanese city Yokohama.