Quick-fire Rugby Championship to be contested in one city?

2020-04-15 07:00
Dane Coles of the All Blacks gets in a scuffle with RG Snyman of the Springboks during the 2019 Rugby Championship Test Match between New Zealand and South Africa at Westpac Stadium (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

This year's Rugby Championship could be a shortened version played over six weeks in one city.

According to Australia's Sydney Morning Herald, southern hemisphere governing body Sanzaar is investigating this possibility.

The 2020 Rugby Championship is scheduled to run between 8 August and 27 September, but coronavirus-related travel restrictions are forcing Sanzaar to think of the box.

Perth is being touted as the ideal host city because its time zone suits South Africa and Argentina, and also because New Zealand and South Africa have strict lockdowns and travel measures in place amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

"There is definitely a collective commitment to prioritising Test match footy," said Rugby Australia general manager Ben Whitaker. "But we are also committed to community safety, first and foremost. We roll off the back of that. But we are ready with different formats. Hopefully that’s sooner rather than later."

There's no doubt a lot of uncertainty over the remainder of the rugby season, and Sanzaar's top brass are hard at work trying to find solutions.

Sanzaar CEO Andy Marinos also told New Zealand's Newshub website on Tuesday that there could even be a scenario where Super Rugby runs concurrently with the Rugby Championship.

"Could you be playing the Rugby Championship at the same time as a domestic competition?" Marinos asked. "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?"

This scenario would force Super Rugby sides to play without their international stars who will be in action for their countries in the Rugby Championship.

 The southern hemisphere rugby boss conceded that Sanzaar could also follow the National Rugby League's (NRL) exampled and play the Rugby Championship in one area.

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

- Compiled by Sport24 staff


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