July 7, 2020 / 12:15 AM / a month ago

Southern hemisphere tests possible later this year - SANZAAR

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Southern hemisphere rugby remains optimistic they will be able to play the Rugby Championship later this year and that a full Super Rugby competition will be run next year.

SANZAAR, an amalgamation of the South African, Australian, New Zealand and Argentinian rugby unions, organises both the provincial-based Super Rugby and international Rugby Championship competitions.

SANZAAR boss Andy Marinos said he was confident the Rugby Championship could be played in the final three months of the year.

“We remain very positive about that,” Marinos told New Zealand’s Stuff Media on Tuesday. “Obviously the biggest elephant ... in the room is what sort of restrictions that could come in.

“But we are certainly very positive as a group to deliver a Rugby Championship this year in whichever market we can, where we can get all the teams in and get the competition underway.

“At this stage we are looking at the back-end of October, into November and probably early December.”

Marinos added that a “bubble” arrangement, where the teams would be based in one country after they met quarantine requirements, was a possibility although nothing had been decided yet.

Super Rugby involving 15 teams from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Japan has been postponed since mid-March due to novel coronavirus restrictions.

Both New Zealand and Australia have since launched competitions involving their domestic teams.

Former Wales international Marinos said SANZAAR was planning on continuing the cross-border Super Rugby competition next year, despite officials in Australia and New Zealand suggesting a trans-Tasman only tournament was a possibility.

“SANZAAR, as a joint venture, remain committed to working together,” he said.

“Whilst we appreciate coming out of 2020 is going to be slightly different, we are busy working through those permutations.”

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Stephen Coates

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