Rugby fans rejoice! New Zealand Rugby has announced a domestic form of Super Rugby involving the five local franchises – Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders.
The NZ government is allowing professional rugby and netball to resume at alert level two as New Zealand has recorded single digit to zero cases for the past few weeks.
The five super rugby clubs will play each other home and away over 10 weeks every weekend on Saturdays and Sundays in a closed stadium, which means no spectators are allowed in.
Super Rugby Aoteroa is expected to kick off on the 13th of June 2020, with the Highlanders set to face off the travelling Chiefs in Dunedin, followed by the Blues vs Hurricanes clash, which is a highly anticipated game following the return of superstar and former world player of the year, Beauden Barret.
A set of protocols has been developed, which includes daily symptoms and temperature checks for players, team management and officials involved in the competition, with strict hygiene and cleaning practices, and contact tracing. Anyone who feels unwell will be asked to stay away, self-isolate and get tested.
Logistically, the teams will be flying in and out on match days by charter flights and with an earlier kick-off time, teams will be able to return home after the games are played.
The Super Rugby competition originally involved 18 teams from Japan, Argentina, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. It was suspended and later cancelled due to the covid-19 pandemic lockdown in countries like New Zealand and Australia, requiring a 14-day self-isolation after travels.
*Aoteroa means New Zealand in Maori
By: Capo Rod