Super Rugby

Super Rugby season in turmoil after tough NZ travel rules


The 2020 Super Rugby season Is in serious doubt after New Zealand ordered everyone entering the country to self-isolate for 14 days in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.

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It effectively rules out overseas teams playing games there for the foreseeable future, and should New Zealand sides leave for overseas clashes they would have to go into quarantine on their return.

"SANZAAR is now reviewing the full impact on the Super Rugby tournament," the governing body said, adding that its executive committee would hold an urgent meeting to decide what to do.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the self-quarantine order would be reviewed after 16 days. It applies to all inbound travellers except those from Pacific Island nations.

The tournament is seven rounds into its 18-round regular season. 

The Crusaders played Japan's Sunwolves in Brisbane on Saturday and will be able to return home to New Zealand before the midnight Sunday deadline.

But the Highlanders were in Buenos Aires preparing for their clash with the Jaguares, which is set to be played behind closed doors in line with an edict from city authorities.

They are due to host the Lions next weekend in Dunedin, but that would appear impossible if they have to self-isolate on their return.

Also next weekend, the Blues are scheduled to play Australia's Brumbies at home, with the Chiefs in Durban to play the Sharks.

The tournament was already facing headwinds with fans barred not only from games in Argentina, but also Australia from next weekend.

New Zealand so far only has six confirmed cases of the virus and has recorded no fatalities.

The SANZAAR release reads as follows:

Following the recent New Zealand Government directive today, that all travellers returning to New Zealand will have to self-isolate on their arrival for 14 days - including New Zealand residents - SANZAAR is now reviewing the full impact on the Super Rugby tournament.

The tournament is seven rounds into its 18 round regular season.

SANZAAR will not be making any official comment on the tournament and the future staging of the remaining matches at this point in time. 

SANZAAR will issue a statement on the full impact of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and its impact on Super Rugby 2020 once the Executive Committee has determined an appropriate course of action and all stakeholders have been informed.

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