With the coronavirus alert level ramping up from level two to three on Monday and moving to level four from midnight Wednesday, the already tenuous Super Rugby replacement competition has been put on indefinite hold, putting further economic pressure on NZ Rugby.
The confirmation today from finance minister Grant Robertson that the Covid-19 financial relief package would be extended to incorporated societies means NZ Rugby will be eligible for a payout but Robinson said tonight what that looked like remained to be seen.
See All Black fullback Christian Cullen destroying the Springboks and Wallabies during his Tri-Nations career from 1996-2002:
The Hurricanes hooker said he was prepared to do his part to help.
“It’s inevitable (that we take a pay cut) and that’s totally understandable considering what’s going on in New Zealand,” said Coles. “Rugby players in New Zealand might have to prepare for that but that’s just my opinion. You don’t want New Zealand Rugby to go under, it would be a bad thing. So hopefully the rugby players around New Zealand can do their part.”
Coles said the revised domestic Super Rugby plan was always a doubt with the ongoing Covid crisis.
“We were always keen to do something but we were never going to risk the lives of people and we weren’t going to do it without the government giving it the ok. That was the main priority we spoke about.
“After what’s come out I don’t think we’ll be getting together again too soon. Which is fair enough. At the end of the day it’s just rugby and there’s more to life at the moment to worry about, so we’ll just take it as it comes.”
Coles, a father of three, will now turn his hand to teaching with young family in isolation, while keeping fit.
“I’ve got three kids so I’m going to be a school teacher for the next wee while. It is hard, but its something we have to do, and something we have to buy into to stop the spread. A little bit of boredom is a small price to pay.
“There’s been a lot of body weight work outs at the moment. On our team chat we had mini-teams and everyone had to post max press ups and things like that within three minutes. We’re doing what we can.
NZR boss Mark Robinson said that he had been in contact with Wales chief executive Martyn Phillips this morning and at this stage the two July tests between the All Blacks and Wales in New Zealand were still on. The All Blacks are also due to play at test against Scotland in July.
Robinson said Phillips assured him the Wales Rugby Union would take guidance from the New Zealand Government and NZ Rugby over whether or not to tour. The coronavirus situation in the United Kingdom is far more bleak than in New Zealand, where at the time of writing there have been 102 confirmed cases.
It appears, however, that it’s only a matter of time before those three fixtures are also cancelled.
“Buy into what the Prime Minister said,” said Coles. “She’s laid out some pretty good guidelines. The self-isolation is going to be tough but we’ve just got to suck it up and get on with it. Isolation is key and minimises the risk, then hopefully in 6 months time we’re in a good spot.
Coles said he expects the NRL season to soon be cancelled too.
“Surely with the AFl getting canned they might have to rethink. Surely their days are numbered I reckon. Pull the pin and get those Warriors lads back to NZ.
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