Super Rugby tournament suspended amid coronavirus scare

Sydney [Australia], Mar 15 (ANI): SANZAAR on Saturday confirmed the suspension of the 2020 Super Rugby tournament at the conclusion of this weekend's matches for the 'foreseeable future' amid coronavirus outbreak.

"Following a SANZAAR Executive Committee (EXCO) teleconference in response to the announcement by the New Zealand Government that all returning travellers will have to self-isolate for 14 days, including Super Rugby players, SANZAAR believes it has no option but to suspend the 2020 Super Rugby tournament at the conclusion of this weekend's matches for the foreseeable future," SANZAAR said in a statement.

"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," the statement added.

SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos said the safety and welfare of the public, player and other stakeholders are paramount.

"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," Marinos said.

"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," he added.

SANZAAR also announced that the match between Jaguares vs Highlanders, scheduled to be played on Sunday, was cancelled in response to on-going player welfare concerns related to the COVID-19 virus.

"SANZAAR does not take this decision lightly, but after consulting widely with key stakeholders, the SANZAAR Executive Committee has taken the necessary step to cancel the scheduled fixture with the players and team management health and welfare paramount. As stated previously while disappointed to be in this position our priority is to ensure the players currently overseas return home healthy and safely to be with their families," Marinos said.

The match will be officially declared a draw and both teams will receive 2 competition points. (ANI)