Former Springboks captain Wynard Claassen has urged the world champions not to play in this year’s postponed Rugby Championship because they won’t be prepared enough.
He fears they will damage their current status if they go into the tournament to be played in Australia under-cooked compared to the All Blacks and Wallabies who have had their stars heavily involved in domestic championships and will play Bledisloe Cup tests before taking on the Boks.
The coronavirus pandemic has seriously stalled rugby in South Africa.
“I honestly believe they should not play in the Championship; it simply doesn’t make any sense to me,” Claassen told the Citizen newspaper in South Africa.
“If one thinks that New Zealand and Australia have been playing their domestic rugby for the last two months and our rugby hasn’t even restarted yet, we would definitely be under-prepared.”
Claassen, who captain the Springboks on their controversial 1981 tour of New Zealand, fears the Springboks could be on a hiding in Australia and undo all the good work they achieved with their third World Cup title in Japan last year.
“What will happen if we again give 50 points away to New Zealand, like what happened in 2016 and 2017; who will be blamed?” he asked.
“We’ve got more to lose by playing in the Championship. We must remember that we are the World Cup champs, the No 1 ranked team in the world and the Rugby Championship holders.
“One has to understand that because of Covid-19 we haven’t been able to restart our local game but it is what it is, and we just have to move on and forget about the Rugby Championship for this year.
“SA Rugby must just take a stand and decide what is in the best interests of the Boks and their legacy. Yes, money talks, but it’s not all about money; there are many more factors at play.”
While the leading players have been out of action in South Africa, some of the Springboks stars have been busy with their European clubs, though that has come at a price.
Star first-five Handre Pollard is out with a major knee injury playing for Montpellier in France while rugged forwards RC Snyman and Lood de Jager are also unavailable with injury problems.
This content was originally published here.