Sanzaar will continue to sweat on the world champion Springboks joining the Rugby Championship after South Africa Rugby was granted an additional 48 hours to make a decision on its participation in the tournament.
Following a Sanzaar chief executives teleconference call on Tuesday, the Sanzaar member unions agreed to provide South Africa Rugby with more time to finalise its internal stakeholder discussions.
Covid-19 has forced Sanzaar to revamp the Rugby Championship, with all games to be played in Australia. There are concerns that the Springboks may not be match-fit, due to a lack of domestic games and preparation in the Republic.
This will now delay the scheduled departure of the Springboks from South Africa to Australia.
That, of course, is providing they confirm their participation in the four-nation tournament which is scheduled to be played between October 31 to December 12.
Sanzaar said in a statement that it will provide an update on the resolution of these discussions and a timetable for the Springboks participation in the Rugby Championship when available in the coming days.
The Bledisloe Cup fixtures between Australia and New Zealand on October 31 and November 7 in Sydney and Brisbane respectively, are unaffected and will go ahead as scheduled.
A number of leading identities with ties to the game in South Africa, including former Springboks coach Jake White, have expressed concerns that the Springboks players will be unable to themselves or the team justice during the tournament.
While the New Zealand and Australia unions were able to launch domestic competitions several months ago, and the All Blacks and Wallabies played the first Bledisloe Cup test in Wellington last Sunday, their South African counterparts have only just recently been able to get their professional players back to work.
If South Africa Rugby declines to send the Springboks to Australia it will force Sanzaar to create a new playing schedule for the All Blacks, Wallabies and the Pumas from Argentina.
The Springboks’ non-participation is likely to hit all parties in the pocket, with South Africa Rugby likely to bear the brunt of it. There have been reports in Australia that a lack of broadcast revenue could cost the South Africans in excess of $10 million.
Sanzaar would have to go back to the negotiation table with broadcasters, who identified a six-week block of double headers as their preferred format for the tournament.
That would not be possible without the Springboks. The South African government has already approved the Springboks’ travel.
The Springboks are slated to meet Argentina in their first game of the championship on November 7 in Brisbane.
This content was originally published here.