Australia’s Super Rugby contracted players will be ineligible for club rugby selection and training, at least in the short term. Rugby union has become the latest football code in Australia to effectively ensure their premier players won’t have the option of dropping down a level.
Rugby Australia on Friday announced Super Rugby contracted players would be ineligible for club selection and training from now through to the initial stage of the revamped five-team competition scheduled to start in early July.
NRL players can’t play in a lower grade rugby league competition, with both the NSW and Queensland Cup scrapped for this year.
It’s a similar situation in Australian rules, with AFL players also adhering to strict protocols at their club and not having the option of playing in state and regional leagues, which are not operating.
Rugby Australia and Super Rugby made the decision in accordance with agreed biosecurity measures, which have been signed off by the various government health agencies.
“We must take the necessary strict action to mitigate the risk of both infection and transmission of the virus within any of our professional environments, despite there being a very strong and understandable desire for players to play club rugby where possible,” RA head of professional rugby services Ben Whitaker said.
“Whilst it is acknowledged it is the desire of all Super Rugby teams to provide game time to players outside any given matchday 23, especially via club rugby, it has been agreed by teams that this practice in the current environment, where we are still seeing some evidence of community spread, would significantly compromise the team environment and possibly the competition.”
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