The Rugby Championship could be forced to go ahead without the world's best team.

Sanzaar revealed earlier this week that Australia will host the tournament, which will begin in early November. However, the announcement soon became the source of fresh doubt over whether or not the Springboks would be ready to compete.

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Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber recently suggested their players needed at least six weeks of football to get in shape for international rugby, however it appears unlikely they will be able to play in South Africa until late September or early October.


Were the Springboks to compete in the proposed November 7 to December 12 Championship, they would have to leave South Africa by October 18.

Speaking to Newstalk ZB's Martin Devlin, former Springboks wing Breyton Paulse said he was doubtful the World Cup holders would be ready to compete.

"I don't think it will benefit the Boks, because of the short amount of time most of those players will have to get them mentally ready and physically," Paulse said.

"I can tell you now, South Africa at the moment things are really quiet, and I've got a feeling that, unfortunately, I don't think South Africa is not going to take part in that. That's my opinion, but in South Africa at the moment it doesn't look like they're going to play.

The timing of the Rugby Championship could mean the Springboks are not ready to take part. Photo / Getty Images
The timing of the Rugby Championship could mean the Springboks are not ready to take part. Photo / Getty Images

"The boys are not really fit enough; they obviously will need a couple of weeks and they will probably have two or three weeks to get ready for that tournament. It will be high intensity and it's just the nature of the beast.

"Things are a little bit messy at the moment from a South African perspective so I don't think it sits well with them at the moment. So, while nothing has been confirmed, in my opinion I don't think the Boks will take part in that competition unfortunately.

"The sense that you're getting when you talk to some of the management, they won't be ready physically or mentally for the tournament. And as the world champion team, you want to go out and be the best you can, you want to be competitive. But the sense I'm getting from the guys is that the Boks probably won't take part."

With the competition being held in Australia, there have been suggestions some All Blacks may wish to opt out of travelling to play.


After naming his first 35-man squad last Sunday, All Blacks coach Ian Foster will significantly increase that number by up to 11 more players before venturing to Australia. All players will be given the choice to opt out of the Rugby Championship, given the length of time away from family.

"We want to make sure whoever is representing the All Blacks does so in a safe environment where they feel happy and comfortable. Some of those conversations started earlier today with understanding where players and management line up with their different circumstances," New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson said.

"We are hugely supportive of our players we know they have gone through an incredibly tough time this year. This challenge of what they are about to undertake is going to be significant and we will back them and their families in whatever way we need to ensure they are looked after. If that means they are unable to assemble or travel we'll hear that out and support that."