11 May 2020

Super Rugby Aotearoa four weeks away

6:08 pm on 11 May 2020

The revamped domestic Super Rugby competition will kick off in a month's time.

Jack Goodhue of the Crusaders eludes Ash Dixon of the Highlanders during the Super Rugby match, Crusaders v Highlanders at Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch, New Zealand, 21st February 2020.Copyright photo: John Davidson / www.photosport.nz

Photo: Photosport Ltd 2020

The Highlanders will host the Chiefs in Dunedin on Saturday June 13th, while the Blues will host the Hurricanes the following Sunday afternoon.

The announcement came following the Government's announcement sport can resume when the country moves to alert level two on Thursday.

Super Rugby Aotearoa would see the five franchises playing each other home and away over 10 weeks, with two matches each weekend.

Each side would have two bye weekends.

Matches would be played in closed stadiums until rules around spectators changed.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson said "medical and operational staff across NZR, the Players Association and the clubs have been working together to ensure we have detailed plans in place to protect the health and safety of everyone involved."

NZR medical manager Karen Rasmussen said a set of protocols for playing professional rugby at level two had been developed and will be endorsed by the Government.

The protocols included daily symptom and temperature checks for players, team management and other officials involved in the competition, as well as stringent hygiene and cleaning, contact tracing practices, and asking anyone who felt unwell to stay away, self-isolate and get tested.

"A major factor 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," Rasmussen said.

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

The teams would also fly in and out on match days by charter flights, with the earlier kick off times allowing teams time to return to their home base after the games.

Robinson also confirmed the Mitre 10 Cup provincial competition will start on September 11th, while NZR was continuing to look at options for this year's Farah Palmer Cup and for the Black Ferns matches as the country builds up to Rugby World Cup 2021.