While talks continue at Rugby Australia, Melbourne Rebels coach Dave Wessels says his Super Rugby team are hanging out for a play date and will need three weeks training once they get the green light.
The Rebels, like the other Australian sides, are waiting for RA to declare a start date for some kind of competition, with early July mooted.
With international borders, apart from New Zealand, likely to be closed for many more months, RA is believed to be looking at a domestic competition to replace Super Rugby, followed by finals against New Zealand teams.
That may or may not include the Sunwolves, who are a part of the Australian conference.
“My hope is that we get playing sooner rather than later and that it starts out as a domestic comp and then hopefully we can play some inter-conference finals at the end of that,” Wessels said.
“They are in contact with the relevant health authorities and are being very much guided by that.”
RA’s seven-man return to play committee, which includes Rebels chief executive Baden Stephenson representing Australian sides, and Rebels and Wallabies playmaker Matt Toomua the voice for players, was due to meet Monday but had talks delayed due to the current machinations at headquarters.
New board member Peter Wiggs met with representatives from the Wallabies captains’ cohort, who signed a petition last week calling for change at the top, with RA boss Raelene Castle later falling on her sword.
Represented by Phil Kearns and Nick Farr-Jones, the ex-Test captains outlined their proposals for how to rebuild the struggling code.
There were also talks Monday between the RA board on a timeline for a replacement for Castle and interim chair Paul McLean’s departure.
Away from the politics, Wessels said he was doing his best to keep his players connected and ready for action.
“Keeping guys mentally and physically ticking over is probably the key thing,” Wessels said.
“We still have daily meetings online to connect with each other and they also have structured running programs and weights programs the guys try to adhere to.”
He felt his team would need a few weeks training together before any competition started.
“Because it is a contact sport you want, from a duty of care perspective, as a minimum you need three weeks lead-in just to make sure guys are safe,” Wessels said.
“Having said that, everybody just really wants to play and get going again; there’s a real merit in trying to do that as soon as we can.”
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