All rugby in New Zealand has been suspended for the foreseeable future following government’s decision to increase the coronavirus alert level and go into lockdown.
New Zealand Rugby has announced that all teams will stop training, but no decision has been made at this stage over the future of the 2020 Vodacom Super Rugby season or the All Blacks Tests scheduled for July.
Sanzaar, together with NZR and the players’ representatives, had been working on a revised format to finish the Super Rugby season, which likely would have had the five Kiwi franchises playing in a domestic competition from 4 April.
However, those plans have had to be put on hold as Covid-19 continues to spread in New Zealand and accross the globe, halting sports activities at both grassroots and professional levels.
The Crusaders, Chiefs and Highlanders were already self-isolating, while the Blues were told to stay away from their Auckland-based headquarters. The latest announcement makes a new competition starting very unlikely.
NZR chief executive Mark Robinson emphasised that priority has to be given to the health and welfare of their players, management and the wider rugby community during this challenging time.
Meanwhile, Rugby Australia have also postponed their own plans for a domestic competition indefinitely.
‘Rugby Australia and the Super Rugby teams have made the decision today to suspend the start of the revised competition on the latest guidance from the various government and health authorities and our chief medical officer,’ RA chief executive Raelene Castle said.
‘Our priority is the health and welfare of our athletes and our wider rugby community as we continue to adapt to an unprecedented and constantly-evolving situation for our game and society.
‘The decision to postpone the restart of the competition until May 1 is in line with the suspension of all community rugby in Australia and will give us the opportunity to review our position across the whole rugby landscape in a month’s time.
‘Our message to the entire Rugby community today is to follow the advice of the Government and health authorities.
‘We must do whatever it takes to stop the spread of the virus.’
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