Johannesburg (AFP)

The South African world champions will not host any test matches this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Jurie Roux, director general of the South African Rugby Federation, announced on Tuesday during a point- press video conference.

July's international matches against Scotland and Georgia have already been called off and Rugby Championship fixtures against Argentina, Australia and New Zealand were scheduled for August and September.

Roux, however, did not rule out the possibility of playing away matches later in the year.

A revised version of the Rugby Championship, which would be held only in New Zealand, is under consideration and negotiations are underway for a tour of Europe, he said.

The three-time world champions are due to face Italy, Ireland, France and Wales during the month of November.

Regarding Super Rugby, a competition between franchises five countries, Roux also felt that the New Zealanders could not make the decision alone to change the format of the competition.

New Zealand last week announced a new competition next year, including clubs from Australia and the Pacific Islands, but not South Africa and Argentina.

"There is a legal agreement with Sanzaar (the consortium that manages Super Rugby, editor's note), and anyone who does not respect it would be held responsible," said Roux.

The 2020 edition was put on hold in March due to the pandemic, and New Zealand and Australia have since started national competitions.

As of July 20, South Africa had 373,628 confirmed cases of Covid-19 for 5,173 dead while the pandemic has not yet reached its peak in the most affected country in Africa.

© 2020 AFP