Southern hemisphere considers Tests, Super Rugby side-by-side

WELLINGTON (AFP) – The southern hemisphere’s Super Rugby competition and the Rugby Championship could be played simultaneously to cram in as many fixtures as possible when sport resumes after the coronavirus suspension, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina Rugby (SANZAAR) boss Andy Marinos suggested.

Marinos said the governing body was keen on continuing Super Rugby in some form this year and also wanted the Rugby Championship to proceed, adding that the season could be extended until December.

He said SANZAAR was exploring the prospect of playing the competitions concurrently, even though Super Rugby teams would be weakened by the loss of their Test stars.

“Could you be playing the Rugby Championship at the same time as a domestic competition?” Marinos told New Zealand’s Newshub late on Tuesday.

“It’s not trying to rubbish one for the other, it’s how do we get a sensible solution in what may be a restricted time frame?”

Super Rugby was originally scheduled to end in June with the four-nation Rugby Championship being played in August and September.

Marinos said the Rugby Championship could be played in a single country, with players and officials confined to a competition-wide “bubble” in a similar arrangement to that proposed by Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL).

“Logic would suggest, if there is an ability to create – like what we’ve seen with the NRL – around a bubble, if it’s all in one location, it seems a bit easier,” he said.

“At this point in time, we’d be silly to rule out anything.”

He said if Super Rugby were to resume, travel restrictions would mean changes to the usual border-hopping format involving 15 teams from five nations.