Finally Some Good News As Rugby Competition Gets The Go-Ahead To Return
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Back in action.
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) have welcomed a New Zealand government’s announcement that professional rugby will resume at COVID-19 alert level two with a new Super Rugby competition now set to go ahead.
Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa involves New Zealand’s five teams – the Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders – and 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.
“For our fans, our players and everyone involved in Investec 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 Investec Super Rugby will kick off.
“Kiwi rugby fans love the local Investec Super Rugby derbies, and they will now have 10 consecutive rounds to enjoy.”
Robinson said the players would need three to four weeks to adequately prepare with contact training before matches could commence.
“We’re delighted for our fans that in a best-case scenario we will have top-quality rugby back on our screens next month. I know the players would prefer to be playing in front of our fans, but the health and safety of Kiwis must come first.”
Plans to prepare for the return of community rugby would begin in earnest when COVID-19 alert level two begins, following guidance about organised sport from Sport New Zealand today.
Robinson said the guidelines provided clarity for Provincial Unions, Clubs and schools, and meant staff and volunteers could make robust plans for how rugby could be played across New Zealand.
“This is an encouraging step for all our thousands of players, coaches, referees and volunteers who’ve been missing their weekend footy over the past couple of months. We look forward to being back on the grass when we’re cleared to do so.”
NZR is developing COVID-19 training resources for Clubs, volunteers and schools to help them prepare for a return to play.