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SA Rugby recognizes recommendation to postpone Rugby World Cup (RWC)

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SA Rugby (www.SARugby.co.za) acknowledged World Rugby’s decision to recommend the postponement of the 2021 Rugby World Cup until next year, saying that although this is disappointing for the Springbok women’s team , it was understandable and sensible.

World Rugby announced on Tuesday evening that it had made the difficult decision to recommend the postponement of the Rugby World Cup, which was scheduled to take place in New Zealand between September 18 and October 16, until next year due to the evolution of uncertainty. and challenge of the global COVID-19 landscape. “

The recommendation will be reviewed by the Rugby World Cup Board of Directors and World Rugby Executive Committee early next week.

“I share Springbok’s women’s coach Stanley Raubenheimer and the disappointment of the team, especially after all the hard work they have put in since last year in preparation for the tournament,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby. .

“But that said, the Rugby World Cup is the biggest stage in rugby and for such a tournament to live up to its billing, it is essential that the appropriate structures are in place so that all teams can perform. the best. their capabilities.

“As this is not possible due to the challenges presented by the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, we understand the decision to recommend the postponement of the event.”

Raubenheimer took a logical view of the decision and said: “The key aspect is not that we are disappointed, it is that the health and safety of everyone involved is more important.

“We would have been very disappointed if the Rugby World Cup had been canceled, but this is only a postponement of the tournament.”

SA Rugby High Performance Manager for Women’s Rugby, Lynne Cantwell said: “Although we are extremely disappointed in South Africa, we see the opportunity to give Springbok Women more time to train and prepare in their current high performance setup for the World Cup. . “

According to the World Rugby statement, it had become clear in recent discussions with key partners, including New Zealand Rugby, the New Zealand government and participating unions, that given the scale of the event and the uncertainties linked to COVID-19, that would not be possible. creating the environment for all teams to be the best they can be on the biggest stage in sport.

The challenges included the uncertainty and the ability of teams to adequately prepare for a Rugby World Cup tournament both before and upon arrival in New Zealand and the challenge of global travel restrictions.

Raubenheimer immediately shifted his attention to forward planning and said, “Now it’s a matter of realigning our goals and setting a new timeline for the future. We can’t wait for the new dates to be announced on how to prepare. “

He added: “In terms of time, maybe that is not a bad thing for us because, like I said before, time was the one thing that we couldn’t get, but that we had. need, and now we will have more time in our preparation for the World Cup.

“It will give the players more time to play and really know what is expected of them from a physical and emotional point of view. I think the right decision was made for the benefit of everyone involved. “

Cantwell said the Springbok women’s rugby program will continue as planned this year, with the exception of the RWC tournament, so players can enter the show next year as fully prepared as possible.

“We will look to play international friendlies this year once the restrictions are resolved and we will use that time to create and start implementing broader plans to develop women’s football in South Africa,” Cantwell said.

“The priority at this point is to support the head coach and his staff as they support the players after hearing the news, and it will undoubtedly take a few days for them to process this before they can move on to the next steps. . move forward together. “

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