Following recent media commentary around the long-term future of SANZAAR, the future structure of its competitions and the rest of the 2020 playing calendar, CEO Andy Marinos has provided the context under which future planning is taking place amidst the impact of the current pandemic.
“It goes without saying that we are operating in a very dynamic and fluid environment that has additional layers of complexity given the diverse, multi-jurisdictional nature of our international cross-border competition structures. The impact of COVID has forced a rethink on the Super Rugby competition and The Rugby Championship delivery in 2020. Due to the ongoing uncertainty over international travel for 2021 and beyond, the Member Unions are also working on solutions past this year that will excite fans, broadcasters and deliver high-performance outcomes for the Unions.
The SANZAAR Joint Venture is not being dismantled. The Member Unions remain committed to the long-term future as a Joint Venture. We all recognise the current challenges we face in trying to settle on any potential Super Rugby competition structures moving forward under the pandemic environment, however the restructuring of Super Rugby through reformatted competitions does not mean the dismantling of SANZAAR.
There is a clear understanding that the value of the SANZAAR alliance and the pathway of Super Rugby to international rugby remains critical to the long-term success, development and competitiveness of the respective National Teams. Our record in cross-hemisphere matches and World Cup tournaments are evidence of this.
Having successfully restarted Super Rugby this year in Australia and New Zealand our focus is now on The Rugby Championship (TRC) that is set to be played in one central location. We have determined that New Zealand is currently the favoured option given the COVID stability within the region. Critical to this, however, is alignment with the New Zealand Government around its requirements for this to take place. SANZAAR is well advanced in option planning with New Zealand Rugby, which in turn, is now seeking New Zealand Government approval. It is hoped that details on the TRC will be announced in the near future.
Unfortunately, the pandemic has been particularly tough for our partners in Argentina as the size and length of the ‘lockdown’ has meant they are not able to play in any further revised Super Rugby domestic competition this year. That said SANZAAR is continuing to work with the Argentina Rugby Union (UAR) in looking for solutions to give their players some meaningful match preparation as we look ahead to the rest of 2020 with The Rugby Championship. SANZAAR is also assisting South Africa Rugby as it plans a return to play strategy in the weeks ahead.”