Springboks players paint a bleak Rugby Champs picture
LISTEN as Springboks stars Duane Vermeulen and Elton Jantjies add their views to the debate around South Africa’s chances of participating in the Rugby Championship.
While the ongoing Rugby Championship scheduling stand-off continues between New Zealand and SANZAAR, South Africa have been preparing themselves for the unexpected.
There has been suggestions that South Africa should just skip this year’s edition and instead focus on the British and Irish Lions tour in July 2021.
Certainly not a bad callgiven South Africa’s limited time to prepare.
The local domestic Super Rugby Unlocked/Currie Cup competitions only start on October 10 and then the international players will have to leave for Australia before October 18.
Speaking to reporters via a virtual conference, Springboks Duane Vermeulen admitted they would be at a disadvantage.
He also revealed their sole focus is the Currie Cup for now.
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“As a player you have to be adaptable when you get an opportunity to play,” Vermeulen said.
“Obviously, its difficult circumstances and something everyone is just getting used to, but as players, we have to be adaptable.
“We still don’t know what is going to happen, so we can only focus on what we can control and we can only control the now.
“The only thing we are focussing on now is the Currie Cup, which has been cleared by SA Rugby, and we are not thinking too far ahead”
He added: “‘If the Rugby Championship do go ahead, though, we would be going in with a bit of a disadvantage – as we are just starting a competition, while in Australia and New Zealand have been playing for the last 10 or 11 weeks and already finished their dometic tournaments.
“It would be difficult for us as players, as there was talk from the medical side that you’d need to ideally have played 400-plus minutes before going into an international competition.
“However, as I said, there are others who will decide the way forward.”
Springboks flyhalf Elton Jantjies shared Vermeulen’s sentiments.
The Springboks’ participation in the Rugby Championships has not been confirmed and SA Rugby bosses have pencilled in October 10 to make a call.
“Whether we go to the Rugby Champions or not, the decision is up to the coaches,” Jantjies said, adding: “They are obviously preparing for both scenarios.
“This week is a big week in terms of the old faces and new faces getting alignment and understanding what it takes to be Springbok.
“Having said that our main focus is the Currie Cup ahead,
“And certainly can’t say a lot about the Rugby Champs, but I’m pretty sure the coaches and players are prepared if the Rugby Championships happens,”