South African rugby boss cautious as Pro14 targets August return

The multinational Pro14 competition is targeting a return in late August, but Jurie Roux remains wary.

Rugby’s Pro14 is set to resume on 22 August, but it comes with myriad complications in a competition featuring teams from Ireland, Italy, Scotland, South Africa and Wales. The competition was stopped in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Pro14 chiefs say that after consultations with various countries, they are hopeful of concluding the 2019-20 competition, albeit in an abbreviated format.

This will consist of two rounds of derby matches that will count towards final table positions, two semi-finals on September 5 and the final on 12 September, with the venues for the knockout games still to be decided.

Tournament director David Jordan said: “Safety has been, and will continue to be, the highest priority as we look to activate our plans to restart the 2019-20 season.

“We are very fortunate to be in a position where everyone involved is confident that we can conclude the season on the field of play.”

South African rugby boss, Jurie Roux, was a bit more wary.

“We hope to see the Cheetahs and Southern Kings play in the end of this season’s PRO14, but there are many factors to take into consideration before we know how it will work,” Roux said in a separate statement.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is still rife in our country and the health and safety of South Africans remains the most important priority… We’ll only be able to play in local derbies, but nothing can happen before we can travel internally.”

England’s Premiership previously announced plans to return on 15 August and see out its season in full but, unlike the Pro14, it does not have the health and travel problems associated with a multinational competition.

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Staff Reporter