Sanzaar CEO Andy Marinos has praised New Zealand Rugby and Rugby Australia for successfully reconstructing their respective domestic Vodacom Super Rugby seasons amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The regular five-nation Super Rugby competition ended abruptly due to government travel restrictions and health authority regulations amid the Covid-19 epidemic.
Sanzaar has since, therefore, approved domestic in-territory competitions and has been working with its national union members to construct and deliver revised domestic competitions.
New Zealand’s highly anticipated Super Rugby Aotearoa kicks off on Saturday, 13 June, while it was announced on Wednesday that Australia’s new Super Rugby tournament will get under way on 3 July.
In a statement on Wednesday, Marinos said the concept of keeping the modified tournament domestic was the most sensible option.
‘It is very unfortunate that our 25th year of Super Rugby has been curtailed and affected by the pandemic, but we have been determined to see Super Rugby return. With international travel virtually impossible at present, the revision of Super Rugby to competitions within our major territories was the only sensible path to take.
‘The national unions have done a remarkable job in getting Super Rugby to return in New Zealand and Australia and I commend their hard work and fortitude in working with their respective governments and health authorities to make it happen.
”I would like to acknowledge our broadcasters, all of whom have stood by the code during this difficult time for us both. It is a testament to our long-standing relationship with our rights holders that we have been able to get rugby back on the field and TV screens as soon as possible.
‘We are delighted to see crowds back in full force in New Zealand. We also hope by the time Super Rugby Australia commences we will also see fans back in Australia.’
Marinos also welcomed the return to training of the South African teams and added that it would be wonderful to see them resume on-field action.
‘We have been encouraged with the South African teams return to training recently and given the recent positive announcements by their government, that will see restrictions easing over the next few weeks, the return to the field of the current world champions across their Super Rugby teams will be a welcomed sight.’