SANZAAR have since announced the cancellation of the Jaguares v Highlanders fixture in Buenos Aires, to allow the Highlanders to return to New Zealand before the self-isolation restrictions kick in at midnight Sunday NZT.
SANZAAR policy states that in the event of a match cancellation under such circumstances, the match will be officially declared a draw and both teams will receive 2 competition points.
Five New Zealand teams play in the 15-team Super Rugby tournament and SANZAAR completely understands the directive issued by the New Zealand Government given concerns globally over the COVID-19 virus and the primary aim to reduce exposure and spread of the virus.
SANZAR CEO Andy Marinos stated, “the safety and welfare of the public, our players and other stakeholders is paramount and as previously stated we were always going to abide by government and health authority instructions on the issue of COVID-19 containment."
"We are extremely disappointed for the players, our fans, broadcasters and partners but given the complexity of our competition structure, and the multiple geographies that we cover, we have no other option but to align with such directives. We also believe it is time for all those players currently overseas to return home and to be with their families.”
"Our priority is, therefore, to ensure our players are within their homes territories from the end of this weekend. SANZAAR will also remain engaged with its stakeholders and will continue to explore avenues to see if we can keep the rugby product alive within our core markets, with the possibility to be in a position to resume the tournament if at all possible in future weeks. We have currently played seven rounds out of the 18 in the normal regular season”.
NZR Chief Executive Mark Robinson has said the priority is the safety and well being of our teams and fans as we all do our part to protect people from COVID-19 and we fully understand and will comply with the need to reduce the exposure and spread of the virus.
“Our focus now will be to ensure the safe return of the Crusaders and Highlanders and rugby staff who are currently overseas and those who need to self-isolate for 14 days will do so.
“The decision to suspend competitions is being made for many events around the world and this is an important step the sporting world can take to ensure that teams and fans are not affected by the pandemic.
“We thank our fans, partners and broadcaster for their support of Super Rugby, and appreciate their understanding and patience while the competition is suspended.”
SANZAAR will issue further information on Super Rugby 2020 and any potential rescheduled fixtures in the days ahead.