WELLINGTON • New Zealand Rugby’s broadcast partner is hoping the domestic competition that is being planned to replace the suspended Super Rugby championship includes an international element at some stage.

The 25th season of Super Rugby was put on hold indefinitely after the seventh round ending March 15 because of the global coronavirus pandemic when the New Zealand government imposed a 14-day self-isolation period for anyone entering the country.

With the mainly Southern Hemisphere provincial competition featuring teams from five countries on three continents, a shutdown was inevitable.

As well as denying the teams and unions money through ticket sales, the suspension is also proving costly for subscription TV channels who rely on sport for their content.

“We are obviously seeing some people who no longer wish to subscribe to the sports channels,” Martin Stewart, the chief executive of Sky TV New Zealand told Radio Sport over the weekend.

“I’m hoping that the Super Rugby teams will be back in action shortly in New Zealand. We’ve been working closely with New Zealand Rugby.

“There are a couple of alternatives that will depend on how things develop in terms of travel bans, as to whether or not there is an overseas element towards the end or whether it remains purely a New Zealand-based competition.

“But either way, we’re hopeful that… we’ll be able to see some great action between all of the Super teams in New Zealand.”

Australia have already announced their four Super Rugby teams along with Western Force, the Perth-based team that was cut from the competition at the end of the 2017 season, will contest a domestic competition.

South Africa are also considering running its own domestic competition featuring its six Super Rugby and Pro14 sides.


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