Rugby Updates - May 2020

May 11 2020

Tyler Ardron - Chiefs Rugby
© Getty Images

Rugby Updates: NZ Announce Super Rugby Start June 13th, Mitre 10 Cup Start in September, Possible All Blacks Trial Match - Rugby Canada Announce Working Group for Return to Play Strategy

Super Rugby NZ Kicks OFF June 13th - Mitre Cup Set for September

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has confirmed that the domestic form of Super Rugby involving the Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders – known as Super Rugby Aotearoa – will start on Saturday June 13.

This allows players four weeks to adequately prepare with contact training.

Today's news follows the Government's announcement on Thursday that professional rugby and netball could resume at alert level 2.

The competition will see the five Super Rugby clubs playing each other home and away over 10 weeks, with two matches every weekend at 5.05pm on Saturdays and 3.05pm on Sundays. Matches will be played in closed stadiums until the Government advises an approach to managing mass gatherings in controlled venues that will allow fans to return.

The schedule for the competition has also been announced today.

In the opening weekend, the Highlanders will play the Chiefs in Dunedin on Saturday, June 13, with the Blues playing the Hurricanes in Auckland the following day. All matches will be played live on Sky Sport.

As a result of the confirmation of the start of Super Rugby Aotearoa, NZR has now confirmed a start time for this year's Mitre 10 Cup.

"With the support of the Provincial Unions, we have been able to schedule a full 14 team Mitre 10 Cup Premiership and Championship competition with kick off on 11 September," said Robinson.

An amended Mitre 10 Cup draw will be released in due course.


Possible All Black Trial Match - North v South

There has been much talk of a good old fashion All Blacks trial returning this year, as New Zealand Rugby (NZR) digs deep in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic bringing the sport to its knees.

Particularly if the All Blacks trial returns in the form of a North Island vs South Island match, which has been floated by NZR officials.

In that case, former Waikato and Chiefs pivot Foster would guide the North Islanders, a side which would be loaded with Beauden Barrett, Sam Whitelock and Sevu Reece, to name a few.

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson boasts a 53-3-6 record in Super Rugby.
While Robertson was born in Tauranga, Christchurch has practically been home since 1996, and he's ingrained in Canterbury and South Island ways.

He'd also have a load of talent at his disposal, including Damian McKenzie, Richie Mo'unga and Anton Lienert-Brown. Just not Canterbury-born lock Brodie Retallick, who, unlike Whitelock, will not play for the All Blacks this year.


Rugby Canada Announce Working Group for Return to Play Strategy

May 11, 2020 (Langford, BC) Rugby Canada and the Provincial Rugby Unions are pleased to announce the formation of a pan-Canadian working group with the objective of developing a nationwide ‘Return to Play’ strategy. The formation of this working group comes as various jurisdictions in Canada begin to loosen some COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

The working group will be chaired by Annabel Kehoe, CEO of BC Rugby and consist of representatives from each Provincial Rugby Union and Rugby Canada. Additionally, each of the provincial unions will be inviting key leaders and coaches from their rugby communities to contribute to this work. The working group will adhere their planning to the guidelines of relevant public health authorities in each province and the Sport Medicine Advisory Committee. The group will also work in conjunction with Rugby Canada’s national insurance provider. The objective is to establish what the various stages of returning to play will be. To ensure that club rugby can be part of the gradual reopening of communities across Canada, the working group will initially consider creative options in terms of ‘rugby-type’ activities, while also developing plans towards resuming full 7s and XVs competitions.

No timelines for implementation have been confirmed at this point, but these will be in sequence with the relaxation of current Provincial public health restrictions within each Province.


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