Another Trans-Tasman match relocated
NEWS: The Melbourne Rebels’ Super Rugby Trans-Tasman match against the Crusaders has been switched from Melbourne to Sydney as authorities battle to contain an outbreak of COVID-19 in Australia’s southern state of Victoria.
The Rebels will play their third successive match at Sydney’s Leichhardt Oval on Saturday against the Crusaders, having been forced to play out of Melbourne due to a lockdown in the Victoria state capital.
“The (lockdown) restrictions may not be lifted until Thursday 10 June at the earliest, and all stakeholders believe it is prudent to schedule the match in Sydney to enable both teams every opportunity to prepare properly for the match,” competition organisers SANZAAR said in a statement.
The unbeaten Crusaders need a victory against the winless Rebels in the tournament’s final match to give themselves their best chance of making the final.
The Crusaders are third on the table, one point behind the leading Blues and level on points with the second-placed Highlanders.
Victoria, Australia’s second-most populous state, reported 11 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, its biggest rise in locally acquired infections in a week.
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SANZAR, Rugby Australia and New Zealand Rugby have confirmed that the Melbourne Rebels versus Crusaders Round 5 match, originally scheduled for AAMI Park, Melbourne on Saturday 12 June, will now be played in Sydney at Leichhardt Oval.
The change of venue from Melbourne to Sydney is a result of the Victorian government’s decision last week to extend its COVID-19 lockdown of Melbourne. The restrictions may not be lifted until Thursday 10 June at the earliest, and all stakeholders believe it is prudent to schedule the match in Sydney to enable both teams every opportunity to prepare properly for the match.
The match kick-off will remain the same at 14:35 AEST. Leichhardt Oval has become a ‘home-from-home’ for the Rebels and has already successfully hosted two matches over the last two weeks due to the Melbourne lock-down; Round 3 – Highlanders versus Melbourne Rebels; and Round 4 – Chiefs versus Melbourne Rebels.
SANZAR CEO Brendan Morris stated, “This is a prudent decision and is in the best interests of both teams given the circumstances. The Crusaders were heading to Australia anyway and will now head to Sydney instead of Melbourne.”
“Of course, we feel for the Rebels who once again are denied the opportunity to play at home in front of their loyal supporters. However, It is a plus for Sydney rugby fans with another top class match now being played in the city and I encourage all ruby fans to get to the match to enjoy some world-class Super Ruby action,” added Morris.