SA Rugby have confirmed that the four local unions will host their United Rugby Championship games at home in November.
Initially the four South African unions were preparing to set base in Italy as their alternative United Rugby Championship home ground while South Africa featured on the UK ‘red list’.
Initially the red list removal had come too late
Even after South Africa was removed from the UK ‘red list’ the initial communication was that, the country’s removal had come too late, with contingency plans already made by the United Rugby Championship organisers for the Bulls, Sharks, Stormers and the Lions to play their home games of the tournament from their makeshift Italian base.
But on friday, SA Rugby announced that they got confirmation that the South African unions had been given the green light to host matches in the country in November for rounds six and seven. Furthermore, what would have helped the unions’ cause, would have been the relaxation of lockdown rules pertaining to crown attendance in the country, positive news that was announced earlier in the week by SA Rugby.
SA Rugby react to the news
“Along with our four franchises, we are thrilled with the news, planning to play our teams’ ‘home games’ (in the United Rugby Championship) in Europe was a necessary step in light of the chaos caused by the pandemic, but we are really grateful that we’ve progressed to a stage where we can now welcome our friends from the northern hemisphere back to South Africa.
“Combined with the news earlier in the week that limited spectators will be allowed into stadiums, we can now start planning for (United Rugby Championship) matches in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town with fans in attendance. It’s a big step in the right direction.”” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.
Comment from United Rugby Championships
“This is a brilliant result (for the United Rugby Championship) , not only for the South African teams but for the league which now gets to make a tangible impression in this rugby heartland early in the season. Huge credit must go to the South African government, SA Rugby and the leadership figures within our clubs for managing to push through and provide reassurances for these fixtures to be played at their home venues in such a short space of time.”
“Up until late last week, it looks like a very tall order for this to occur, but now everyone in the league has been bolstered by this news and we will harness that enthusiasm to get ready for some real blockbuster fixtures in Rounds 6 and 7.” Said Martin Anayi the CEO of the United Rugby Championship.
Here are the United Rugby Championship fixtures set to be played in South Africa.
Saturday, 27 November:
13h00: DHL Stormers v Zebre Parma
15h30: Cell C Sharks v Scarlets
17h45: Vodacom Bulls v Munster
Sunday, 28 November:
14h00: Emirates Lions v Cardiff
Friday, 3 December:
17h35: Vodacom Bulls v Scarlets
Saturday, 4 December:
13h00: Cell C Sharks v Zebre Parma
15h30: Emirates Lions v Munster
17h45: DHL Stormers v Cardiff