Rugby Australia has today confirmed that three Vodafone Super Rugby and two Buildcorp Super W matches scheduled to be played in Australia this weekend will proceed as scheduled, and that members and fans will be welcome to attend the matches as normal.
As the situation with regards to Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve in the country, the Australian Government today announced that it had moved to a position to advise against organised non-essential gatherings of 500 people or more from Monday, March 16.
The Queensland Reds will host the Bulls (South Africa) at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday night as part of a Super Rugby double-header after the Sunwolves (Japan) play the Crusaders (NZ) in a match that was relocated from Tokyo. Then, on Sunday in Canberra, the Brumbies and NSW Waratahs are set to do battle at GIO Stadium.
Buildcorp Super W matches will also go ahead as scheduled across the weekend with NSW Waratahs Women facing RugbyWA Women on Saturday in Sydney, and Brumbies Women hosting Queensland Reds Women in Sunday's double-header in the nation's capital.
In line with the advice from the Government, all Vodafone Super Rugby and Buildcorp Super W matches in Australia beyond the upcoming round will be played in closed venues until further notice. There are no current plans by Rugby Australia or SANZAAR to cease international travel, however travel advice will be monitored closely over the coming days and weeks.
Rugby Australia, RUPA, and the four Vodafone Super Rugby teams agreed to the plan on a teleconference this afternoon following the Government’s announcement.
Rugby Australia Chief Executive, Raelene Castle said: “This is a position that no one in our game wanted to be in, but we have made this decision in line with the Government response to this ongoing global health issue and in the best interests of our players, members and fans.
“The Prime Minister made it clear in his address to the media this afternoon that the Government’s advice is a staged response to this issue and that by Monday the next stage of their response is to advise against non-essential large gatherings.
“We are confident from this advice that there is no significant or imminent health risk to our athletes or fans for the weekend’s matches. At all times, any decision we make is with the health and welfare of those people front of mind.
“As this situation is evolving constantly, we will continue to review our position on a daily basis.”