The Brumbies’ Super Rugby match against the Sunwolves scheduled for early next month in Osaka is set to be relocated due to the coronavirus. SANZAAR announced on Thursday that the Japanese government has requested the cancellation of all sporting events for the next two weeks, which takes in the Brumbies’ match on March 6.
SANZAAR is now working to determine if the Hanazono Rugby Stadium match can be relocated and if this isn’t possible, the teams are set to split the competition points. The Statement reads as follows: The international cross-border nature of Super Rugby has led SANZAAR to review its playing schedule and to implement specific tournament protocols to minimise any risks of the ongoing effects of the Corona virus.
To date the Corona [COVID-19] virus has been detected in 30 countries and territories around the World. The most concerning to SANZAAR of these are the Sunwolves’ home venues in Japan and Singapore where matches are scheduled to be played.
Presently a number of countries including Australia, New Zealand and Singapore have placed travel and country entry restrictions on passengers travelling from or through mainland China [the virus epicentre] within 14 days of entry to reduce the potential spread of infection. However, at this time travel restrictions into and out of Japan by the respective SANZAAR Governments have not been further escalated from their latest positions earlier in the week.
However, SANZAAR has now been informed that the Japanese Government has requested the cancellation of sporting events in the country for the next two weeks with specific mention of the Japanese professional sports leagues. This includes the Sunwolves versus Brumbies match that is scheduled to be played in Osaka on the 8th March 2020.
SANZAAR has therefore been in communication with all relevant stakeholders regarding the match and advanced discussions have been held to adequately address this recent announcement by the Japanese government. SANZAAR is now working to determine if this match can be relocated. SANZAAR will issue further details on the position of this match and any potential further disruptions in the near future.
In terms of the Super Rugby tournament as a whole, management is in regular and close contact with the National Union Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) who have been monitoring teams within their own territories against national health guidelines and health authority directives.
Advice from the CMOs is that within the participating Super Rugby countries there are presently no identified cases of any players, management or match officials [or family members] presenting symptoms associated with the virus, including the Sunwolves. Daily review and monitoring of all participants is now in place under an agreed protocol.
Under this protocol, the CMOs will ensure: the set-up of sanitisation stations at all team venues; temperature checks on all players and staff; provision of contact and treatment plans for each National Union to assist visiting teams; and monitoring of match officials.
Since SANZAAR's statement, Sunwolves CEO Yuji Watase confirms that the games against #Brumbies (slated for Hanazono on March 8) and Crusaders (Chichibunomiya on March 14) will not be held in Japan.