Super Rugby considering local derbies rather than cross-continental travel

Super Rugby might opt to complete its season domestically rather than hobnobbing around the globe when it resumes.

Rugby Australia chief Raelene Castle said on Tuesday that Super Rugby has started to consider options for resumption after its coronavirus suspension.

Just seven rounds of the competition has been completed. Broadcasters have paid for 18 and discussions are underway with Sanzaar to find alternative solutions.

One option being considered is local derbies with fixtures arranged between Australian teams Australian teams made up of the Reds, Waratahs, Rebels and  Brumbies playing against each other. The Sunwolves are also  Australia, so could be added to the fixture rotation.

“The impact of government decisions to contain the coronavirus has seen rugby in Australia impacted in ways that we could never have imagined,” Castle told reporters in Sydney.

“We support these decisions as the health and wellbeing of Australians must come first. However, any ongoing restrictions will put extreme pressure on Rugby Australia’s finances.”

The five New Zealand teams and four South African sides could also rotate. Argentina’s Jaguares are the only outlier and will have to be base themselves in South Africa should the competition choose to go this route.

“The travel restrictions mean that cross-border competition doesn’t seem realistic so domestic obviously leads the conversation,” Castle said.

“That’s all the work we’re doing and we expect we’d be able to communicate on that in the coming days.”

Rugby, as all other sports across the world, will likely suffer crippling financial costs, but Castle believes the sport will survive.

 “Yes, there’s going to be some bumps in the road, there’s no doubt about that, and we ultimately might have to make some difficult decisions along the way. But the sport’s not going anywhere,” she said.

The competition was suspended “for the foreseeable future” last weekend following travel restrictions in New Zealand and Australia in the wake of the global COVID-19 outbreak.

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Staff Reporter