SA Rugby considers 'State of Origin' series as return to training nears

Date: Jul 13, 2020

SA Rugby is understood to be considering the staging of a unique 'State of Origin' series for the end of 2020 if the Springboks play no rugby this year.

With South Africa entering its predicted peak of infection in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, the country's professional rugby franchises are yet to resume training with a return to play still considered some way off.

The Department of Sport and Recreation announced on July 6 that a return to training for contact sports in South Africa had been gazetted and that sports bodies had 14 days to submit their proposed plans on how the could facilitate the safe return to training.

Sport24 understands that SA Rugby has completed that process and that it has now obtained full government approval for its professional franchises to return to training.

That announcement is expected to be made by SA Rugby's Covid-19 committee shortly.

In terms of international rugby, there is the possibility of playing the 2020 Rugby Championship in a 'bio-bubble' environment in either New Zealand or Australia towards the end of the year.

According to Rapport, if that still takes place then the State of Origin series will not happen.

One of the concerns with the Rugby Championship is that international travel restrictions might still apply, while the Springboks would also have to spend two weeks in quarantine on arrival in Australasia and on return to South Africa.

Logistically, that might not be possible.

While details of the State of Origin series are still murky, sides will be assembled based on where players were born or where they went to school.

That could see battles between North and South or Coastal and Inland, depending on what is decided.

Rapport added that December 19, December 26 and January 2, 2021 have been identified as possible dates to host the series with Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban the possible venues.



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