Super Rugby suspended due to coronavirus outbreak, travel restrictions

Author
Radio Sport / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 15 Mar 2020, 9:46AM
Super Rugby has been suspended for the foreseeable future. (Photo / Getty)

Super Rugby suspended due to coronavirus outbreak, travel restrictions

Author
Radio Sport / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 15 Mar 2020, 9:46AM

Sanzaar have cancelled the penultimate Super Rugby match of round seven, scheduled for this afternoon (NZT) between the Highlanders and Jaguares in Buenos Aires.

Early this morning Sanzaar, the governing body behind Super Rugby, announced that the competition will be suspended "for the foreseeable future" following the completion of this weekend's matches due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

But the governing body have since announced the match would not go ahead and both teams would be awarded two points.

The announcement comes after the New Zealand government declared that every person arriving in the country would need to self-isolate for 14 days, in order to prevent the spread of the virus. The policy will take effect from midnight on Sunday. There are currently no such travel restrictions affecting Australia, South Africa, Argentina or Japan.

The Crusaders' match with the Sunwolves on Saturday had already been relocated to Brisbane in Australia from Japan.

The New Zealand Government has announced that travellers entering the country from midnight tonight (NZ time) must self-isolate for 14 days due to fears over the coronavirus outbreak.

Sanzaar CEO Andy Marinos stated: "The safety and welfare of the public, our players and other stakeholders is paramount and as previously stated we were always going to abide by government and health authority instructions on the issue of COVID-19 containment.

"We are extremely disappointed for the players, our fans, broadcasters and partners but given the complexity of our competition structure, and the multiple geographies that we cover, we have no other option but to align with such directives. We also believe it is time for all those players currently overseas to return home and to be with their families."

"Our priority is, therefore, to ensure our players are within their homes territories from the end of this weekend. Sanzaar will also remain engaged with its stakeholders and will continue to explore avenues to see if we can keep the rugby product alive within our core markets, with the possibility to be in a position to resume the tournament if at all possible in future weeks. We have currently played seven rounds out of the 18 in the normal regular season."

No date has been set for the competition to return, in what is the final season featuring a 15-team format before the Sunwolves are removed from the competition.