An adapted version of Super Rugby will resume with an exclusively Australian competition comprising five teams, including the Western Force, in the planning stages.
The Perth-based Force was considered to be in excess of requirements in 2017 when it was withdrawn from competition. They have since played in the Global Rapid Rugby and the National Rugby Championship.
The CBA reports that the Force will join the Queensland Reds, ACT Brumbies, NSW Waratahs and Melbourne Rebels in a new look competition that will be operational again in July at the earliest.
Global travel restrictions have taken advantage of the inclusion of the South African team cohort, as well as Argentine Jaguares and Japanese Sunwolves, while New Zealand has already announced plans for its own local competition only.
Similar to “Super Rugby Aotearoa”, the Australian competition is expected to be a 10 week round robin involving all five franchises, without crowds.
The Rugby Australia Return to Play committee has met regularly to plan for a new competition, while absorbing knowledge from the NRL, which will resume later this month.
RA is giving Super Rugby clubs an educational briefing on Covid-19 this week, with players scheduled to resume training on May 18, which gives them seven weeks before the start of Friday, July 3.
While the NRL will have less than three weeks of contact training, rugby believes that its players – especially tight attackers – need more preparation time with the proposed deadline of one month.
The 2020 Super Rugby season was suspended due to the Covid-19 hatching in mid-March, after just seven rounds of play.