Rugby Championship 2020 starts in November. But, this year’s tournament looks to be something of a damp squib ahead of the popular annual event. Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, and South Africa face off in Australia. News from New Zealand suggests that some key players opt-out of playing for the All Blacks. And in South Africa, it’s been suggested the Springboks won’t be fit in time.
Rugby Championship 2020 – damp squib?
Firstly, the Kiwis rage because they lost the opportunity to host this year’s tournament. According to Yahoo Sport, New Zealand coronavirus restrictions came in much harsher than Australias. So, their opponents DownUnder took it. That leaves plenty of business out of pocket. And, they hoped for a bit of a boost after lockdowns.
For some All Blacks players, the length of time away in a country with more COVID-19 cases brings some concerns. RNZ reported that some players hate the idea of being away from home for a long time. It would mean “ten weeks” away and then the possibility of Christmas in quarantine. The players with young families include Richie Mo’unga, Beauden Barrett, and TJ Perenara.
Springboks not fit or mentally ready
Meanwhile, the NZ Herald speculated that South Africa, might not compete at all. And, even if they do, it’s not likely they’re fit enough or mentally ready to do well. Former Springbok Breyton Paulse floated the idea that the team might not be ready for it. And, the outlet noted, “Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber recently suggested their players needed at least six weeks of football to get in shape for international rugby.”
That might not give the Springboks enough time to prepare for the Rugby Championship 2020. They would need to arrive in Australia in October to meet the quarantine requirements. And, they might not even play much before then in South Africa. The Level 2 lockdown regulations now allow for full contact training, but will they have enough time? Fitness levels remain very worrying. Meanwhile, Argentina also faces some issues.
Argentina players with coronavirus
A week ago, six players in the Argentinian team tested positive for the virus. Fox News reports the players include “Juan Cruz Mallía, Emiliano Boffelli, Bautista Delguy, Rodrigo Fernández Criado, Bautista Pedemonte, and Lucas Bur.” So, doubts linger about the readiness of the team on their side as well.