Speculation is mounting that the Springboks will pull out of the Rugby Championship, potentially turning the southern hemisphere tournament on its head.
South Africa are expected to announce this week whether they will attend the tournament against the All Blacks, Wallabies and Pumas being held in Australia in November and December.
Former Springboks coach Jake White has voiced concerns over player readiness and now English journalist Martin Gillingham has tweeted his understanding that South Africa will pull out.
“SA Rugby expected to announce in the coming days the Springboks are withdrawing from the Rugby Championship,” he said. “Their first test is supposed to be against Argentina on Nov 7. Rassie Erasmus will cite ‘player welfare’ as the reason.”
SA Rugby issued a statement at the weekend saying: “The Springboks’ ability to participate in the Rugby Championship will be finalized early next week.
The team is due to defend its title in Australia between November 7 and December 12, but several hurdles need to be cleared if it is to be confirmed.”
The Springboks haven’t played since winning the World Cup final against England in Japan last November.
They are due to play the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship on November 21 and 28.