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Dublin: 15 °C Monday 13 July, 2020

June fixture list unveiled for Kiwi Super Rugby sides

Reports in Australia say their sides, including the revived Western Force, may follow suit in July.

George Bridge scores for the Crusaders against the Blues before SUper Rugby was halted this year.
George Bridge scores for the Crusaders against the Blues before SUper Rugby was halted this year.
Image: Photosport/Andrew Cornaga/INPHO

NEW ZEALAND’S SUPER Rugby teams will kick-off a 10-week domestic fixture schedule next month, while Australian sides will reportedly follow suit in July.

The New Zealand government last week downgraded their Covid-19 alert level and the move has prompted tournament organisers to announce Super Rugby Aotearoa, kicking off from 13 June in closed stadiums.

Measures to limit Coronavirus spreading will include a daily check on players, management and officials for symptoms and earlier kick-off times to facilitate teams returning to their home base on the night of the match.

With two matches set for each weekend, Saturday fixtures will kick off at 17.05 (06.05 Irish time) and Sunday games will get under way at 15.05 (04.05 Irish time). First up will be Highlanders v Chiefs in Dunedin.

“A major factor,” adds New Zealand Rugby medical manager Karen Rasmussen, “will be ensuring we control who enters the team bubbles and that we have necessary measures in place to mitigate against any risk to the health of all team members, as well as the health of their families and the wider community.

“Team members will be asked to minimise their contacts outside of the team environment and their family bubbles.”

Reports in Australia say their governing body is set to follow suit with a domestic competition to include Western Force (who were chopped from Super Rugby before the 2018 season). ABC report that the Sunwolves (who were due to be cut from Super Rugby this year) may also join the Waratahs, Brumbies, Rebels and Reds if the Japanese side are based in Australia for the duration of the tournament mooted to begin in July.

Back in New Zealand, the Super Rugby schedule as allowed the NZRU to plan further into the year, with the regional Mitre 10 competition slated to start on 11 September.

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Sean Farrell

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