COVID-19 cancels Global Rapid Rugby
NEWS: Global Rapid Rugby (GRR)chief executive officer Mark Evans has announced the immediate suspension of the 2020 season.
About 2 000 fans turned out to watch the Western Force post a 51-14 win over Malaysia Valke in their GRR debut at HBF Park on Saturday.
But the spread of the coronavirus has forced GRR to either cancel or postpone the rest of the 2020 season.
Andrew Forrest’s new competition has teams based in Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Samoa, Fiji, and Hong Kong.
With travel restrictions growing tougher by the day, GRR organisers had no choice but to end the 2020 season after just one round.
Evans said: “Travel, quarantine and public health restrictions have provided us with no option but to halt the inaugural Global Rapid Rugby season for the imminent future.
“The sporting environment has been turned upside down by the current worldwide health crisis.
“It’s enormously disappointing to have to suspend the competition just one round into the season, however the health and safety of our players, coaches, staff and fans are always our number one priority.
“We will explore all avenues as we seek to evolve the competition to meet the difficult circumstances we all now find ourselves in.
“One thing that has not changed is our commitment to the development of rugby in the Asia-Pacific region and we look forward to getting back on the park and building on what Global Rapid Rugby has achieved so far.”
The cancellation of sport around the world is going to put individual clubs and sporting organisations under huge financial pressure.
Some may not be able to stay afloat.
But GRR has one massive advantage – a billionaire mining magnate in its corner.
Forrest pledged his allegiance to the Force when they were cut from Super Rugby in 2017 and he’s stated numerous times that he will back GRR for the long haul.
Force coach Tim Sampson said it would be sad if GRR’s inaugural season had to be cancelled after just one round but he understood the situation.
Sampson believes GRR will have a bright future once the coronavirus crisis is over.
“It’s grown year to year, the level of play has grown, the standard has grown, the commercial interest globally – it’s been recognised,” he said.
“It’s going ahead in leaps and bounds, and we’re just thankful to be part of it.”