Springboks pull out of Rugby Championship

The Rugby Championship is about to lose the World Cup winning Springboks.

RNZ has been told that the South Africans have decided they won't take part in the tournament in Australia.

The Springboks have cited player welfare and the need for government approval as sticking points in taking part in the competition.

The South Africans had to leave for Australia this weekend to fulfil their quarantine requirements in time.

South Africa's withdrawal means that the other three teams will share a bye each week of the tournament.

After this weekend's second Bledisloe Cup test at Eden Park the All Blacks will head to Australia to play the Wallabies on October 31st in Sydney and then a week later in Brisbane.

The Springboks opening match was scheduled to be against Argentina in Brisbane on November 7th, while New Zealand were set to play them in Sydney on November 21st and in Newcastle on November 28th.

The All Blacks games against Argentina are scheduled for Parramatta on November 14th and December 5th.

South African Rugby released a statement this morning saying a final decision on their participation in the Rugby Championship will be announced over the next 24 hours.

The Springboks now face going into next July's British & Irish Lions series on home soil having played little or no Test rugby since their victory in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final against England last November.

South Africa's long and hard Covid-19 lockdown means the country's leading players were sidelined from competitive action between mid-March and the start of the domestic season this past weekend.