• Kiwis set for Super Rugby resumption

    A 10-week New Zealand competition involving its five Vodacom Super Rugby clubs has been given the green light.

    In a significant development, New Zealand Rugby welcomed the government’s announcement on Thursday that professional rugby and netball would resume at Covid-19 alert level 2.

    ‘For our fans, our players and everyone involved in Super Rugby, we are thrilled that the sports minister has given the green light for professional sport to resume at level two,’ said NZR chief executive Mark Robinson.

    ‘Both netball and rugby have been working closely with government agencies on what training and playing at level two could look like, and we are incredibly grateful for their support.’

    ‘As soon as the country announces what date we move to alert level two, we will be able to confirm what date Super Rugby will kick off.

    The revised ‘domestic competition’, which will involve the Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders, has been developed by NZR in conjunction with Sanzaar, the Super Rugby clubs and the NZ Rugby Players’ Association (NZRPA).

    The five teams will play each other home and away over 10 weeks, with two matches every weekend. All matches will be played in closed stadiums.

    Robinson said the players would need three to four weeks to adequately prepare with contact training before matches could commence, while in a best-case scenario play could start as early as June.

    Robinson added they were still working through the details of the Mitre 10 Cup and Farah Palmer Cup competitions, but they wanted to preserve the integrity of these competitions where they could.

    A decision on the All Blacks’ series in July against Wales and Scotland will be made in the next fortnight.

    READ: Silver lining for return-to-play protocols