Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen says player safety has to be the main priority after the Vodacom Super Rugby season was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sanzaar confirmed on Saturday that it had ‘no option’ but to suspend the 2020 season for the foreseeable future, as countries continue to fight to contain the spread of the virus.
It means that the Lions will be returning to South Africa early from their tour to Australia and New Zealand. The team was set to finish against the Highlanders in Dunedin next Saturday.
On the decision, Van Rooyen said that while the team was desperate to continue their season, Sanzaar was correct to place the emphasis on safety.
‘Sanzaar and the powers that be made the decision as most sporting bodies in the world did,’ Van Rooyen said. ‘Player welfare and safety is the main priority for us as well. Obviously, it is sad for the competition, but it is also good for people to be home and to be safe.
‘I don’t think we need to make any more comments regarding that. We are here to play rugby. We are here to coach rugby, so that decision is out of our hands.
‘Obviously the best thing for us is to play rugby. You don’t even have to talk about whether we wanted to play or didn’t want to play. That is a decision by the powers and we have to come back. It is not our decision.’
The Lions will go into the break bottom of the South African conference and in 14th place overall following their 43-10 loss to the Blues in Auckland.
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