Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
2 minute read
12 Sep 2020
8:03 am

Former Bok captain: Madness to play in Rugby Champs

Rudolph Jacobs

Claassen believes SA Rugby bosses must forget about going Down Under with an under-prepared national team and rather focus on the visit by the Lions next year

The Springboks' reputation as World Cup winners will be on the line next time they play, which could be in the Rugby Championship in Australia in November. Picture: Getty Images

It would be absolute “madness” if the Springboks played in the Rugby Championship this year, according to legendary former Bok captain Wynand Claassen.

Sanzaar confirmed on Friday that the Championship will go ahead from November 7 to December 12 in Australia, but the Boks’ participation remains doubtful.

Even though SA Rugby stand to lose millions of Rands, Claassen believes the Boks should rather skip the Championship and rather focus on the visit by the British and Irish Lions next year.

“I honestly believe they should not play in the Championship; it simply doesn’t make any sense to me,” said Claassen, who lead the Boks on the protest-ridden tour of New Zealand in 1981.

“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.”

The All Blacks and the Wallabies will also contest two Bledisloe Test matches before the Championship starts which will leave the Boks even further behind and with a massive handicap without proper game time.

Claassen believed if the Boks ended up playing in the Championship it could even tarnish their reputation.

“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,” he said.

“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,” he said.

An important consideration however is how much money SA Rugby stands to lose if the Boks don’t play at all this year, with an estimated R200-million being mentioned.

“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,” he said.

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