ADVERTISEMENT

No limit on crowd sizes for Super Rugby Aotearoa as New Zealand PM declares country 'virus free'

BY Stephen Brunsdon  ·  Monday Jun 8, 2020

This weekend’s New Zealand based Super Rugby Aotearoa tournament will feature no limits on crowd sizes, organisers have announced, making it the first competitive sporting event to be hosted with mass gatherings since the COVID-19 outbreak began.

ADVERTISEMENT

New Zealand was one of the first countries to close its borders amid the coronavirus pandemic, and was among the first in the world to ease its lockdown, having recorded just 22 COVID-related deaths.

Such progress has allowed Super Rugby Aotearoa to take place, in which all the New Zealand franchises are pitted against each other.

Moving to Alert Level 1, the announcement from the New Zealand government allows restrictions on mass gatherings, including in stadiums to be lifted. The Highlanders play the Chiefs at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, while the Blues face the Hurricanes at Eden Park in Auckland.

Kick-off times have also been adjusted in accordance with the new legislation, meaning that Saturday’s games begin at 7:05pm and Sunday’s at 3:35pm, allowing as many fans to attend as possible as well as limiting the stress on visiting teams.

Chris Lendrum, the head of professional rugby at New Zealand Rugby said: “With the return of community sport, we wanted to give our many fans involved in Saturday sport time to finish up their games, get ready to head out, and then across town to our venues. We’re excited to be able to provide some daytime Sunday rugby in 2020.

“With the change to Level 1 our teams can now prepare normally for matches, rather than asking them to fly in and out on match day.”

ADVERTISEMENT

https://www.facebook.com/superrugbynz/videos/620668948657022/

RFU seeking direction from UK Government

While New Zealand is already in a position to allow spectators back into stadia, the RFU’s Director General Bill Sweeney believes that the UK Government should consider relaxing its social distancing rules, which Sweeney says could earn the federation up to £12 million.

Current guidelines from the UK Government says that people must keep a two metre distance in public spaces, but Sweeney believes that even reducing this to one metre social distancing, match attendance can be quadrupled.

ADVERTISEMENT

“If you use two meters apart, then in reality this represents a secure space of four meters around each spectator,” he said. “With one, it’s one meter all around, which has the effect of quadrupling the capacity.”

“If you use two meters in a stadium with 80,000 seats and you take into account the movement of people, for example if someone wants to use the toilet without passing in front of another spectator and without touching it, this reduces your ability to 9,000 to 9,500 seats, “said Sweeney.

Sweeney did maintain that the RFU would comply with UK Government regulations but would seek “clarification on whether the two metre rule should be one metre.”

https://www.facebook.com/superrugbynz/videos/671672770354649

Comments




Related Articles

  • 8 WEEKS AGO

    Bristol Bears break 20-year record with victory...

  • 8 WEEKS AGO

    All Blacks star Jordie Barrett discusses...

  • 8 WEEKS AGO

    Gloucester's next 'Rees-Zammit' scores incredible...



ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Bordeaux prop scores the ultimate front row try in the Top 14

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Northampton Saints youngster George Hendy seals the Premiership title

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Springbok centre tears it up in the Top 14 for a crucial hattrick

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    English winger leaves defenders in his dust for long range score in Top 14

  • 10 WEEKS AGO

    Five of the best tries from the Investec Champions Cup

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    WATCH: Bath's Beno Obano shown red in the Premiership final

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    World Player of the Year BANNED heading into Paris Olympics following horror challenge during Madrid SVNS

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Debate surrounding ludicrous rugby league tackle leaves union fans baffled

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Courtney Lawes: 'We don't need to have a 10/10 performance or do anything out of the ordinary'

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Player handed LIFETIME ban for shocking tackle on referee

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    Leinster prospect pulls off outlandish footballing skills in URC quarterfinal

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    Danny care binned for high tackle on Courtney Lawes

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    Wild start at Twickenham as Quins pull off another wonder-try

  • 10 WEEKS AGO

    Tickets now on sale as World XV set to face France in thrilling encounter

  • 10 WEEKS AGO

    '60 metres, plus change' - massive drop goal stuns fans

View All

Funnies

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    Former French star's 'tackle of the season attempt' goes viral

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Hilarious interaction between Simon Zebo and journalist

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    Nick David unexpectedly shows up to semi final in full kit

  • 8 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: The worst camera angle in rugby history

  • 9 WEEKS AGO

    Louis Rees-Zammit's real reason for NFL move exposed

View All

Amateur

  • 75 WEEKS AGO

    You Won’t See Many Better Than This Silky-Smooth Try From Llandovery RFC

  • 75 WEEKS AGO

    Incredible Scenes As Caldy RFC Hand Ealing First Championship Defeat Of The Season

  • 98 WEEKS AGO

    Dubious Score Decides Result Of Rugby's Biggest Schools Fixture

  • 98 WEEKS AGO

    Incredible Scenes At School Boys Rugby Match

  • 98 WEEKS AGO

    The Next Dominant Backrow?

View All

Player Features

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Andy Goode includes Joe Marler in his England XV to beat New Zealand on summer tour

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    Beno Obano receives judgement following Gallagher Premiership final red card

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    URC Awards: Jamie Richie turnover king and a big win for Jack Crowley

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    Gloucester confirm prop switch to Saracens

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    Several top stars to miss Scotland's summer tour as Gregor Townsend announces squad

View All