Aussies present 'new' plan to government
Rugby Australia has submitted a return to play document to the federal government, but the code isn’t expected to resume until July.
The 29-page document worked on by RA’s return to play committee, includes guidelines and details on biosecurity issues and medical provisions around training.
The return to play committee, includes RA’s chief medical officer Warren McDonald, Wallabies back Matt Toomua, RUPA CEO Justin Harrison, and Melbourne Rebels CEO Baden Stephenson plus a number of other RA officials.
It’s unlikely RA will make any return to play announcement until next week, with the players expected to have three to four weeks training together before contesting any matches.
Super Rugby was suspended in mid-March after seven rounds after Australia and New Zealand introduced isolation policies due to concern over the coronavirus pandemic.
SANZAAR, the controlling body of the southern hemisphere’s major tournaments including Super Rugby, on Monday acknowledged any return to play by those teams this year would have a strong domestic focus, given possible travel, border and government restrictions.
RA’s preferred format is a domestic round-robin home-and-away tournament including the four Super Rugby teams and possibly Western Force.
It’s believed they would seek to avoid any hub scenario pending government restrictions and the ability to travel interstate.
With speculation growing about it’s major tournaments beyond this year, SANZAAR reiterated they had already sold broadcasters a 14-team Super Rugby cross-border tournament format as well as the four-team Rugby Championship.
Talk of a potential Trans-Tasman tournament was dismissed as speculative by SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos.
“Having spoken with my SANZAAR board members I can confirm that none of the suggested models or structures that have been commented on recently, such as stand-alone Trans-Tasman formats, have been agreed by any of the SANZAAR unions individually or collectively,” Marinos said in the statement.
“All such reports are merely speculative and have no basis to them.”
“This is not to say that we are not having realistic discussions on what may have to eventuate should COVID-19 restrictions continue beyond 2020.
“We are presently looking in detail at various competition formats, but any agreed format will include teams from all four stakeholder national unions.
“Due to uncertainty over what various government restrictions, if any, may look like next year including international travel, no date has been set yet as to when a decision will be made on 2021 and beyond.
“A major consideration is that we also have an obligation to discuss any contingencies with our broadcaster partners in the first instance after which we will make a public comment.”
Meanwhile, RA isn’t expecting any developments regarding potential financial assistance from World Rugby for at least a couple of weeks, after Bill Beaumont was re-elected WR chairman over the weekend.