The Hurricanes are welcoming the Government’s announcement today that a domestic Super Rugby tournament will proceed under alert level two.
“We’re elated, as this update removes any doubt about whether there is rugby to be played on the horizon. Obviously, there’s still uncertainty regarding when the country will make the shift to level two, but our team and staff will be ready to go when that time comes,” said Hurricanes CEO, Avan Lee.
It is a message echoed by NZR CEO, Mark Robinson.
“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.”
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.
“We know how much our members, commercial partners and fans have been missing their rugby and we also know how much they love a derby clash. This tournament could be something really special. We remain optimistic, that whilst the initial games will be played behind closed doors, there may be an opportunity for fans to attend games later in the competition,” Lee said.
Due to the time off, players would need three to four weeks to adequately prepare with contact training before matches could commence.
Robinson stressed that the health and safety of everyone involved was our number one priority.
“While we want to see our game up and running as soon as possible, we won’t make decisions that will put anyone at risk. We have always said we will take the Government’s lead on when it is safe to return.”
A working group made up of players, Investec Super Rugby clubs, Provincial Unions, the NZRPA and NZR had considered all the possible competition options and timings which were dependent on when alert levels dropped and rugby could resume.
Robinson said they were still working through the details of the Mitre 10 Cup and Farah Palmer Cup competitions, but they wanted to preserve the integrity of these competitions where they could. A decision on the All Blacks Steinlager Series in July against Wales and Scotland will be made in the next fortnight.
SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos said Super Rugby fans in New Zealand and across the globe would be excited that we may, in the near future, be able to restart rugby.
“We have known for some time that once the green light is given to recommence playing [in any of our territories] that a revised Super Rugby competition format would have to be implemented. This will mean a strong domestic focus in each territory given the travel, border and Government restrictions that we will have to adhere to."
"Given today’s announcement by the New Zealand Government, SANZAAR will now in conjunction with NZR move to the implementation of the revised Super Rugby format that has been agreed upon by all SANZAAR partners and stakeholders. We will work with NZR around the possible start date that satisfies Government requirements."
Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa competition format:
- A New Zealand competition involving our five Investec Super Rugby clubs (Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders).
- 10 weeks (20 matches).
- Eight matches per club – four home, four away and two byes each.
- Two matches per weekend