New Zealand’s Super Rugby teams will begin a season of their own starting next month.
The Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders will play in Super Rugby Aotearoa, beginning on June 13, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
New Zealand announced on Monday it was moving to alert level two on Thursday, clearing the way for Super Rugby to begin in the country.
The nation’s five Super Rugby teams will play each other home and away over 10 weeks, beginning with a clash between the Highlanders and Chiefs behind closed doors in Dunedin on June 13, with the fixture released on Monday.
“The thought of five world-class Kiwi teams battling it out in 20 matches over 10 weeks should put a smile back on the faces of many people,” New Zealand Rugby (NZR) chief executive Mark Robinson said in a statement.
Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa…coming June 13.
— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) May 11, 2020
“I know our players are excited and I’m sure rugby fans will be as well.”
He added: “Medical and operational staff across NZR, the Players’ Association and the clubs have been working together to ensure we have detailed plans in place to protect the health and safety of everyone involved.”
Players, team management and officials will undergo daily symptom and temperature checks, to go with stringent hygiene and cleaning and contact-tracing practices.
New Zealand has seen more than 1,400 coronavirus cases, including 21 deaths.
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