Players want 'Fantasy Island' return
Rugby has jokingly asked for a second oval on the NRL’s “Fantasy Island” as they plan for a potential July return – more than a month later than their rugby league counterparts.
Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle has flagged a July or August kick-off for a domestic Super Rugby alternative and hopes a three-match Bledisloe Cup series is still possible later this year.
RA, who has stood down 75 percent of staff and cut player salaries by about 60 percent on average, could lose AU$1.2-million in revenue if no more games are possible this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But their attitude towards a competitive return appears far more cautious than the NRL’s, which plans to resume training on May 4 and games from May 28.
“We’ve asked them to build a second oval on Fantasy Island there with them – we want to be playing on May 28 as well,” Rugby Union Players’ Association President Damien Fitzpatrick said.
“I don’t know where they’re planning on playing, but I spoke to a couple of the boys this morning and said ‘wherever they’re planning on playing I would love to make sure that we’re right there next to them’ because the guys are itching to play, that’s for sure.”
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While a purely domestic league appears the most likely entree in “July or August”, Castle is eyeing off a Trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition and Tests between the two nations as the main course later in the year.
“A five-week, seven-week, 12-week type competition, hopefully of five or six teams,” Castle told rugby.com.au.
“That can give some real substance to finishing off what we started at the beginning of the year and really get the players back on the field so that they can engage in something that’s meaningful.
“We’ve got Test matches that look unlikely now in July [against Ireland and Fiji] … and certainly New Zealand is a target for us, playing the All Blacks … [in] that October or November time frame.”