‘Super Rugby AU’ set for July 3 start

Last Updated: 10/06/20 9:24am

Michael Hooper of the Waratahs will be among the players due to feature in the Australia-based competition
Michael Hooper of the Waratahs will be among the players due to feature in the Australia-based competition

Rugby union in Australia will return next month will a new-look domestic competition featuring four of the country’s Super Rugby sides.

The Queensland Reds and New South Wales Waratahs will open the schedule at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on July 3, with Canberra hosting the Brumbies and Melbourne a day later while Perth-based Western Force have a first-round bye.

The competition will see teams, who will all start on zero points after the Super Rugby was shutdown after seven rounds in March, play each other twice each before a two-week play-off series, culminating in a September 19 Grand Final.

“Our focus is now back where it should be, getting … Super Rugby AU up and running next month and watching our five Australian teams go head-to-head in week after week of Aussie derby action,” Rugby Australia [RA] interim CEO Rob Clarke said.

Australia will become the second nation to resume professional rugby after the coronavirus shutdown, with New Zealand set to open “Super Rugby Aotearoa” this weekend, with live coverage on Sky Sports.

RA confirmed Super Rugby had been “abandoned for 2020”.

South Africa’s Super Rugby teams are expected to play in a home-based competition but Argentina’s Jaguares and the Tokyo-based Sunwolves face an uncertain future.

“The decision around the Jaguares was largely taken out of our hands with the country’s travel ban being extended until 1st September 2020,” Super Rugby’s governing body SANZAAR said.

The Australia-based competition, which will take place at closed venues pending government advice on allowing spectators, will be a welcome boost for RA, which has battled to stave off a financial crisis exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Source : Sky Sports