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Rugby given June return date in New Zealand

New Zealand is the first major rugby nation to announce a restart to the sport since coronavirus...

Phil Egan
Phil Egan

12:19 11 May 2020



Phil Egan
Phil Egan

12:19 11 May 2020


New Zealand is the first major rugby nation to announce a restart to the sport since coronavirus brought a halt to the season in March.

The country's five Super Rugby teams will play each other behind closed doors in a 10-week domestic tournament from June 13th.

New Zealand Rugby made the announcement on Monday after the government confirmed that certain sports could resume at alert level two.

NZR Chief Executive Mark Robinson said: "The thought of five world-class Kiwi teams battling it out in 20 matches over 10 weeks should put a smile back on the faces of many people.

"I know our players are excited and I’m sure rugby fans will be as well.

"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."

The Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders will have four weeks to prepare with contact training before the tournament kicks off.

The matches will be played at closed stadiums until further government advice and will be broadcast live on Sky Sports.

Two matches will be held on Saturdays at 5.05 pm (6.05am Irish time) local time and two more on Sundays at 3.05pm (4.05am Irish time).

New Zealand’s domestic competition has also been given the green light by governing body SANZAAR, which includes partner unions Australia, South Africa and Argentina.

The results in the competition will have no bearing on the wider Super Rugby competition.

NZR also said the country’s annual provincial competition, the Mitre 10 Cup has the support of the Provincial Unions and is due to start with a full 14-team championship from September 11th.

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