Players worry if game will return as NZ Super Rugby prepares

WELLINGTON: While New Zealand Super rugby The players are preparing to return to their teams on Monday before a national competition begins next month, the country's elite players are concerned about the lack of clarity on whether they will play throughout this season.

Most national and international club rugby competitions have been suspended since March as countries implemented travel bans and imposed strict health protocols while fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Zealand Rugby ( NZR ) said this week a new domestic competition involving its five Super rugby teams would start on June 13 after the government loosened some of the country's lockdown restrictions and re-opened the economy.

However, elite players have begun to express concern over the governing body's lack of information on whether their own national provincial competition or national teams of 15 and 17 years will play this year.

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Communication hasn't leaked much at the moment, and I think that's where that frustration is, Blacks Ferns Sevens captain Sarah Hirini told Newstalk ZB on Saturday.

We don't know about our World Series tournament, we don't know about the borders that are opening, we don't even know when we can see the rest of our teammates again, even at level 2, so that's probably what more challenging right now.

World Rugby postponed the men's and women's global sevens circuits in March, while on Friday the organization postponed all test matches scheduled for July.

The women's world champion Black ferns They were due to play the United States on July 18 at the Otago Regional Stadium in Dunedin before the All Blacks-Scotland clash.

The postponements will place further financial strain on NZR, which has already projected a multi-million dollar loss for 2020 due to the pandemic and canceled this year's lower-tier provincial men's competitions to cut costs.

The first level male and female provincial competitions will still take place.

However, several provincial players have expressed concern that their competition could also be a victim of cost reductions.

NZR Chief Executive Mark Robinson acknowledged the players' frustration but said work was being done to ensure the women's provincial competition and internationals would be played this year.

"There are significant pressures around rugby as a whole and New Zealand Rugby at the moment in terms of finding the funding to do these things," Robinson told Newstalk ZB.

It is simply a case of trying to find resources.