Rugby: South Africa domestic competition scheduled for October 10 start

South Africa's domestic rugby season will finally kick into full gear, when a seven-team competition starts on October 10, ending a seven-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

South African Rugby has confirmed the matches will be played through the festive season and the final on January 23, although games will be played without spectators.

The country's four Super Rugby sides - the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers - will take part, along with PRO14 outfit Cheetahs, and local provincial teams the Pumas and Griquas.

Teams will play each other home and away, with the top four in the table advancing to semi-finals.

The Super Rugby sides will warm-up for the competition with a doubleheader on September 26 in Pretoria, as the Bulls meet the Sharks and Lions battle Stormers.

That will be followed by a 'Green v Gold' clash in Cape Town the following weekend, where squads of 25 will be chosen from the pool of players contracted to SA Rugby by director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and new Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber in a quasi-national trial.

Nienaber wants to build towards the Rugby Championship scheduled for Australia from November 7-December 12, as well as the British & Irish Lions series at home next year, with the Boks inactive since their World Cup win in Japan last November.

SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux says they hope to compete in Australia, but factors such as international travel restrictions will be taken into account.

"We're still not in a position to confirm plans for the Springboks, but it remains our wish that they play tests this year," Roux says.