COVID-19 seems to have wreaked havoc on worldwide economies and brought international sports to its knees. South African Rugby didn’t get away unscathed and as the pandemic swirls its way through the country and infections soar, it appears that Rugby is South Africa is picking up again. Is it that Rugby 2020 in SA is more important than saving lives? Or perhaps it is that the world (and South Africa) just cannot wait any longer to get back to normal life.
One thing that has been noted is that when it was announced that Rugby training will commence again, not one peep was heard from the public, the players, the coaches, or the stakeholders regarding the safety risk thereof. Some say that money is talking here as the Springboks and South African Rugby are in a far better financial position than ever before, thanks to the industry’s 2.5% revenue increase in 2019. The fact that the union has been working hard to improve its overall solvency and financial position, by impairing all loans, investments and receivables where recovery was in doubt, has made SA Rugby unions more prepared for the financial fall out of a pandemic. Those in the know say that if the pandemic hit South African Rugby 2 years ago, the situation would have been a whole lot different. But even though SA Rugby is in a far better financial position than previous years, players and related businesses cannot continue with uncertain futures and reduced incomes.
South African Rugby
Why Is Rugby Back in Full Swing in SA?
Although there is an underlying understanding that there is financial stability keeping players and rugby businesses afloat, it must be noted that players, coaches and anyone else involved in Rugby in the country are going home with greatly reduced pay cheques – and so the general idea is that “the show must go on” in order for revenue to be generated and Rugby to survive in the country.
Of course, South African Rugby Unions are dedicated to protecting the lives of players, fans and player’s family members by doing regular testing and of course, insisting that while off the field, players are practicing social distancing.
If you talk to the average Springboks fan, while they are eager to see the boys on the field decimating the competition, there is still a great deal of conflicting opinions. Is it really safe and won’t these players be putting themselves and others at risk?
The COVID-19 Impact on Rugby in SA
When full contact training was on the cards for South African Rugby players again, a series of COVID-19 tests were carried out. At first, the entire Lions team came back with negative test results whereas the Bulls team reported 5 positive tests on players and 1 positive test on a coach. The Stormers reported 1 positive case whereas the sharks tested over 100 people in their organisation and would only confirm that a “small number” of players came back positive.
This doesn’t bode well for full contact training, does it? The good news is that players who have tested positive have been pulled from the teams and placed in quarantine for the recommended timespan and regular testing is done on players to ensure that the spread of COVID-19 is kept at near impossible levels. All games at stadiums are also played out without spectators present.
Let’s Talk About Mental Health in SA Rugby Since the Outbreak of COVID-19
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 and worldwide lockdowns were imposed, a certain level of uncertainty regarding the future has been at play. According to an article in the IOL newspaper, 4 out of 10 players in SA Rugby suffer mental health issues due to stress, anxiety and uncertainty. Lack of sleep and increased stress levels sound like a recipe for mental health disaster. While players admitted feeling weak or vulnerable due to their conditions, not many were eager to speak out. The Rugby field is already a competitive place to be, placing immense mental and emotional challenges on players. Being off the field and uncertain of the future only seems to be exacerbating mental issues suffered by players.
Who knows, maybe it’s best for our players to be back on the field….
Springbok Rugby 2020
Rugby 2020 in South Africa Getting Back on Track
On Friday the 9th of October 2020, the very first competitive match in the land of world champion Springboks kicked off since mid-March when the Super Rugby multi-national competition folded due to COVID-19 lockdowns. The Sharks played the visiting Lions at Kings Park and beat them; 19-16. The country, eager to get its fix of Rugby, watched from the safety of their television sets where excitement was bound to be rife. It seems that this will be the format of Rugby in South Africa for the foreseeable future, as long as COVID-19 restrictions exist.
FinGlobal: your cross border financial experts
While it seems as if the world is waiting in eager anticipation for things to be “normal” again, slowly things seem to be moving forward. While restrictions are being eased and normal life as we know it is peaking through the dark clouds of COVID-19 life, it only stands to reason that any and all plans to emigrate will soon be well underway once more. Hopefully this means emigration processes will resume as normal too.
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