SYDNEY, March 13 (Reuters) - Super Rugby matches will go ahead as scheduled this week despite the coronavirus pandemic, SANZAAR said on Friday, with the only change being a ban on fans at the match between Argentina’s Jaguares and the Wellington Hurricanes.
The government of Argentina has directed that no spectator presence would be allowed at major sporting events in Buenos Aires for the next 30 days, resulting in the ban on fans at the Jaguares’ match in the city on Saturday, SANZAAR said.
“We have taken the decision that the match will be played under these restrictions,” Andy Marinos, chief executive of the governing body of southern hemisphere rugby, said in a statement.
“Apart from the match in Buenos Aires on Saturday, all other matches will continue as normal for Round 7.”
The Jaguares have further home matches in Buenos Aires on March 21 and April 4 and Marinos said SANZAAR would be working with local authorities to determine the requirements for those games.
Home matches for the Tokyo-based Sunwolves club were moved from Japan to Australia in the previous two rounds but the mostly southern hemisphere provincial competition has been otherwise unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Super Rugby is an international cross-border competition and with the global outbreak of the coronavirus in recent weeks we always knew that unfortunately at some stage there would be an effect on the tournament,” Marinos added.
“We have been planning for such contingencies and have been cognisant of all government and health authority directives issued within their respective territories.”
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Ed Osmond