South African rugby will attempt to follow New Zealand by staging local derby matches but not before the end of April due to the national state of disaster being declared.
The South African Rugby Union today announced plans are underway to restructure local competitions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The union said these plans could see South African franchises and other provincial teams stage a new, locally-based derby competition following the suspension of Super Rugby and the PRO14.
South Africa has four teams based in Super Rugby; two in the Pro14 after the Cheetahs and Kings moved north for the 2017/18 European season.
No such competition would be possible until the end of next month after all rugby in South Africa was suspended until the end of April.
New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson revealed on Tuesday night the governing body will attempt to stage local derbies between the five Kiwi franchises within the next two weeks. Australia is considering a similar arrangement.
While doubts persist about whether any matches will get underway, NZR hopes to announce further details by the end of this week.
Three New Zealand teams – the Highlanders, Chiefs and Crusaders – must first satisfy two-week quarantine periods after returning from overseas.
New Zealand Rugby headquarters in Wellington is also in lockdown after an employee presented concerning symptoms and was taken for Covid-19 testing.
South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, on Sunday announced a raft of measures including travel bans, closure of schools, banning any gathering of more than 100 people and encouraging social distancing.
"We have now declared a national state of disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act," Ramaphosa said. "This will enable us to have an integrated and coordinated disaster management mechanism that will focus on preventing and reducing the outbreak of this virus."
Despite that state of affairs, SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux today announced his organisation would follow New Zealand's plans, confirming on-going discussions are being held with stakeholders about a number of competition models that could be implemented.
"SA Rugby is currently evaluating all our competition structures, with a view to restructure it in the interim so that we are able to afford game time to all our franchise and provincial teams," Roux said.
"Obviously, nothing can happen in the next few weeks until the 'period of social distancing', as instructed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, has lapsed.
"We are considering local derby matches between our South African teams. We must still drill into the specifics, but we are confident we will be able to put a feasible plan on the table that will be suitable for everyone.
"These are extraordinary times which call for extraordinary measures and it also offers us an opportunity to be innovative.
"We are working closely with our broadcast partner, SuperSport, and other important stakeholders and will announce plans once we are in a position to do so."
Following a briefing with the government, SA Rugby issued a statement confirming no rugby will take place until at least the end of April.
"We wholeheartedly and without hesitation are completely aligned to the government's aggressive approach to attempting to curb this pandemic," SA Rugby president Mark Alexander said. "All rugby has been suspended until the end of April and we have changed our business practices to support the need for "social distancing".
"I call on the entire rugby fraternity to play their part in support of the government in curbing this pandemic. The Springboks showed last year that we as a nation are stronger when we are together and now is the time for all of us to act."