A Trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition will likely go ahead ahead this year after the confirmation of a travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand.
Australia and New Zealand’s governments have announced that quarantine-free travel can resume between the two countries from the 19th of April, for the first time since the pandemic began.
This means that Super Rugby teams from both sides of the Tasman will be able to freely travel from one country to the other, allowing a cross-border competition to take place.
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JUST IN: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces details about the #TransTasmanBubble with Australia, allowing people to travel between the countries without quarantine from April 19 https://t.co/JicE6XX7t4 pic.twitter.com/mAEXwHAJWP
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The news will come as a major boost to the two countries’ Super Rugby sides, who have only played against domestic opposition since the regular Super Rugby season was cancelled in March 2020.
Australian and New Zealand sides are currently playing in their second domestic Super Rugby seasons, but can now plan for the trans-Tasman competition which is due to kick off on the 14th of May.
The tournament could still be thrown into doubt should there be any future coronavirus outbreaks in either country however, which would see travel between the two countries temporarily halted.
Good news for international rugby in the southern hemisphere
The news will also come as a boost to test rugby in the southern hemisphere, which was seriously hampered by the pandemic last year.
The Wallabies and All Blacks each played just six test matches last year, four amongst themselves and two each against Argentina, as their plans for the 2020 season were drastically altered.
The two national teams did travel between Australia and New Zealand last year, but had to quarantine for 14 days on either side of the journey.
The Rugby Championship reverted to the Tri Nations last year after South Africa pulled out of the annual southern hemisphere competition, and was held entirely in Australia in order to allow the tournament to take place.
Venues for this year’s Rugby Championship are unknown as of yet, but Australia are understood to be keen on hosting the tournament by themselves again while New Zealand want to co-host with another country.