South Africa: Cheetahs and Kings’ Pro14 Restart Looking Increasingly ‘Unlikely’

Hawies Fourie , the Cheetahs’ head coach, remains unconvinced that South African rugby’s first competitive match since the Covid-19 shutdown will be two PRO14 derbies between his troops and the Southern Kings .

The cross-continental tournament’s governing body announced earlier this month that this year’s truncated campaign would be concluded through two rounds of domestic clashes before the playoffs, with 22 August being the earmarked date for a resumption.

However, SA Rugby still hasn’t had its customised return-to-training and -play framework approved by the sports ministry, with the federation last week confirming it needs clarity on whether teams in virus hotspots can start assembling again.

Nine of South Africa’s 14 unions are located in regions where government believes infection rates are rising.

“If I’m really honest, I don’t see us fulfilling those two fixtures against the Kings. It’s unlikely,” Fourie told Sport24 .

“The thing with a situation like this is that it’s just too fluid. One week you hear that rugby’s leadership are positive of play resuming and a few days later you receive a different message. It’s not anyone’s fault, there’s just little in the way of clarity.”

Jurie Roux, SA Rugby’s chief, earlier this month expressed hope that the country could have rugby matches by August.

That target has now been pushed back to the beginning of September as the teams, who have been told to tentatively prepare for a 6 July return-to-training date, would need a pre-season of at least two months.