Safety first as Rugby Africa cancels Women’s Cup
CAPE TOWN – South Africa’s women’s rugby team will not defend their Rugby Africa Women’s Cup title this season.
The Springbok Women were set to defend their Rugby Africa Women’s Cup title in a three match-series against Uganda, Madagascar and Kenya between May and July. The series would have featured a historic first Test match in Madagascar.
However, the tournament was called off on Tuesday following a decision by Rugby Africa to cancel their 2020 season in the interests of player safety.
The key considerations in the decision included the current bans on travel, public gatherings and sporting events across Africa, the varying lifting of lockdown restrictions across the continent, potential quarantine requirements and the anticipated increase in travel costs when the travel bans are lifted.
Another contributing factor highlighted by the Rugby Africa Medical Committee was the fact that the variable evolution of COVID-19 in different parts of Africa made it difficult to predict when the pandemic would peak in Africa and when the end would be in sight.
Springbok Women’s coach Stanley Raubenheimer was realistic in his reaction to the cancellation of the tournament: “I think it was the best decision in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. I would rather extend our preparation for the 2021 Rugby World Cup into next year and have peace of mind knowing that the players’ safety is the main priority.
“As a coaching team we were prepared for any eventuality, but it is good to have clarity on the season so we can map the way forward.”
Raubenheimer said the players would continue with their personal training programmes for now, while he remained hopeful that the European Tour scheduled to take place in November would go ahead.