With sport opening up around the world and the NRL set for a May 28 kick-off across the Tasman, there is hope the Super Rugby competition will get underway next month.
New Zealand Rugby has not officially come out and confirmed any details about competitions but a New Zealand domestic competition between the five New Zealand Super Rugby teams appears the only logical option.
TVNZ is reporting this morning the five New Zealand franchise have been informed by New Zealand Rugby that a return to action will take place once Level 3 restrictions are lifted. The government will make an announcement on Level 2 rules today.
The teams will need three weeks of pre-season having last played in the second week of March. The players have been training on their own and keeping fit but have done no contact work.
Once that is allowed — and an exemption may be needed from the Government to make this happen — the competition is likely to begin on the second or third weekend of next month. Training could initially be limited to just small groups.
The two games every weekend are likely to be played on Saturday night and late Sunday afternoon. With no crowds allowed, kick-off times will be decided by the broadcaster.
Sunday afternoon is attractive to broadcaster Sky as most people are at home and there are few distractions. Games in Australia have kicked off late on Sunday before and rated well.
The competition is to be played on a home-and-away basis and have semifinals and finals.
There had been talk of all games being played at Forsyth Barr Stadium and teams being based in Dunedin but that appears unlikely.
The competition is likely to go through until early September and will then be followed by a revival of the North-South match. This could also double as an All Black trial.
The Mitre 10 Cup will kick off with a full season, though the dates of the season may not align with the original draw. It was set to begin in early August but may begin at least a month later.
All Blacks may feature in some of these games but a three-test series against Australia will be their priority. This is likely to be played in October but the exact locations will have to be finalised. It will depend on the opening up of the borders on both sides of the Tasman.
As for community rugby, that is dependent on the Alert Level moving to Level 1. Once that is reached then the season is set to go ahead.
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