23 March 2020

Proposed Super Rugby replacement competition put on hold

| Tim Gavel
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The Domestic Super Rugby season has also been placed on hold. Photo: Brumbies.

Rugby Australia has delayed the start of the new Domestic Super Rugby season after Federal, State and Territory governments introduced guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The competition, involving the Brumbies, Waratahs, Reds, Rebels and the Western Force, was part of the contingency plan put in place by SANZAR to ensure Super Rugby continued in Australia in some form. The Sunwolves were to be replaced by a recalled Western Force.

Domestic Super Rugby was scheduled to start on 3 April but Rugby Australia has suspended the competition until 1 May. Given the evolving nature of the pandemic, even that timeline could be ambitious.

Brumbies CEO Phil Thomson concedes it’s hard to predict what will happen.

“It’s very difficult. It’s evolving day-by-day, hour-by-hour. It’s no different to anyone else out there in society at the moment,” Mr Thomson said.

As well as the competition being delayed, the Brumbies will suspend training at their UC headquarters from tomorrow for a fortnight.

Thomson spoke to the players this morning and is confident they will embrace it.

“They’ll have their own training programs and be doing it the best they can,” he said, “It’s a bit of old school stuff; there’s a hill run, there’s an oval. It won’t be as sophisticated as going to the gym. It’s another challenge, and we’ve had plenty of them so far this year.”

These challenges refer to the disruptions created in both the pre-season and the season itself by the bushfires, smoke haze, extreme heat, the state of emergency and the threat of severe thunderstorms which contrived to keep crowds away. There was even an outbreak of mumps.

And now there’s a pandemic.

The next fortnight could be interesting as the Brumbies seek to build on their excellent start to the season when the on-field action resumes, whenever that might be.

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