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Hurricanes welcome Super Rugby Aotearoa start date

Mon 11th May

The Hurricanes are thrilled with today’s announcement, that Super Rugby Aotearoa will officially kick off on June 13.

The New Zealand-based competition will see the country’s five Super Rugby clubs playing each other home and away over 10 weeks, with two matches every weekend at 5.05pm on Saturdays and 3.05pm on Sundays.

Head coach, Jason Holland, said the squad cannot wait to get back training and playing together.

“It’s fantastic news that we will be back into training come Monday, 18 May. I know the team is really looking forward to being in the Hurricanes environment again – and the same goes for coaches and management.”

From the outset, New Zealand Rugby has taken the Government’s lead around a safe return to the game, ensuring everything possible was done to mitigate the further spread of COVID-19.

NZR Medical Manager Karen Rasmussen said a set of protocols for playing rugby at level 2 had been developed and will be endorsed by the Government.

She said the protocols include daily symptom and temperature checks, stringent hygiene and cleaning practices, contact tracing, and asking anyone who feels unwell to stay away, self-isolate and get tested.

“A major factor will be ensuring we control who enters the team bubbles and that we have necessary measures in place to mitigate against any risk to the players’ health, as well as the health of their families and the wider community,” said Rasmussen.

“Team members will be asked to minimise their contacts outside of the team environment and their family bubbles.”

The teams will also fly in and out on match days by charter flights, which is the reason for the earlier than normal kick off times.

Despite the tournament being played behind closed doors, the Government said it may review those restrictions at some point throughout the season.

Hurricanes CEO, Avan Lee, said the tournament will be a vastly different experience for the team and fans alike.

“It’d be fantastic to see fans allowed in the stadium to some capacity throughout the tournament, but safety has to be the top priority. We want to sincerely thank all our members and partners for how incredibly patient they have been as we’ve worked through the impact of COVID on our season.

The Hurricanes will play their first game against the Blues in Auckland on Sunday, June 14.

Holland said it’s going to be tough.

“We’ve got five world-class teams going head-to-head for 10 weeks. I know the time off rugby has given our players a lot of time to miss the game, and they’re hungrier than ever to make an impact and bring home some great results.

Summary of the COVID-19 protocols for professional rugby at level two

The protocols that New Zealand Rugby and the five Super Rugby clubs will adhere to so as to mitigate the further spread of COVID-19 include:

  • Daily symptom and temperature checks by team medical staff.
  • Asking anyone who feels unwell to stay away, self-isolate and get tested. Any illnesses within family bubbles must be reported, with immediate testing for anyone with COVID-19 symptoms. Ministry of Health protocols will be followed, with close contacts identified and tested.
  • Everyone in a team bubble will be asked to use the Government’s contact tracing app. Each team bubble will also have its own measures for contact tracing.
  • Flu vaccinations for all players and management.
  • Extensive education of players by medical staff about everything from hygiene to food preparation and the use of equipment.
  • Stringent hygiene and cleaning practices of both team bases and match venues.
  • Strict controls and records of who can access team bases and match venues.
  • Players to maintain physical distancing while training where they can.
  • Encouraging players and management to minimise their contacts outside of the team environment and their family bubbles.
  • Teams will travel by charter flights to matches and the team buses will go direct from the airport to the match venue.

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