Australia hopes to restart July rugby with Western Force return

SYDNEY: a competition between Australia the four of them Super rugby teams could launch in early July as coronavirus The restrictions are relaxed, with the Western Force eliminated and the Sunwolves of Japan as potential participants, authorities revealed.

Super suspended SANZAAR governing body Rugby in mid-March as the pandemic closed international borders, but two plans have been drawn up to restart rugby in Australia, said the official website.

The first option is a five-team championship featuring Australia the four of them Super rugby teams, Queensland Reds, NSW Waratahs, ACT Brumbies and Melbourne Rebels, plus Western Force. The second is a six-team version including the Sunwolves.

Rugby Australia 's high performance manager Ben Whitaker said the Brumbies and the Waratahs were due to begin limited workouts this week.

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All teams must return to full training by June 8, and the competition will begin four weeks later.

The draw we are looking at is a 12-week competition (with) 10 weeks of regular round matches and depending on the number of teams, he said.

The move comes after New Zealand Rugby on Monday unveiled plans for a domestic competition, Super rugby Aotearoa, kicking off on June 13.

The Perth-based Western Force were axed from Super rugby at the end of the 2017 season and now compete in the National Rugby Championship and Global Rapid Rugby , the Asia-Pacific competition founded by Australia n mining magnate Andrew Forrest.

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The Sunwolves are in their final season of Super rugby after southern hemisphere governing body SANZAAR decided to drop them due to skyrocketing costs and poor on-field performances.

Including the Force in a national competition would be relatively straightforward, but Whitaker admitted that virus-induced border closures made the Sunwolves a more difficult proposition.

The Sunwolves' situation is a bit more complicated than the others with their team, not just coming from Japan but a variety of countries having to assemble in Australia to take part, he said.

We are working closely with the government on the opportunity for them to do so.

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Whitaker suggested that the Japanese team could be based in Queensland or New South Wales for the duration of the competition.

Authorities in Canberra have already set a precedent for allowing overseas sporting teams into the country, with the National Rugby League's New Zealand Warriors basing themselves in Tamworth before a competition restart scheduled for May 28.

Whitaker also hoped that Australia 's home Tests in July against Ireland and Fiji could be rescheduled to later in the year, along with Rugby Championship fixtures against New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina.