Scott Robertson reveals New Zealand’s Super Rugby plans

Date published: April 24 2020 - David Skippers

Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson said a 10-week Super Rugby domestic competition is set to take place in New Zealand amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Robertson revealed that his country’s five franchises are set to face each other in a series of “brutal” matches, with flexibility built in around the tournament’s commencement date.

New Zealand Rugby has said it is looking at several domestic and international options, all of which depends on when clearance is given to return to action.

Robertson said Super Rugby will restart in his country when the government has reduced its lockdown measures to alert level one.

New Zealand is currently at a restrictive level four are set to move to level three on Monday.

“We will just play local games, derby games as we call it, so it will be 10 weeks home and away, and the first (team) – top of the table wins, So it’s pretty brutal,” Robertson told Will Greenwood’s Podcast on SkySports.

“If we start June, July, August – we will get the Super in and we will go into the NPC (provincial competition) and just finish later in the year.”

Last week, New Zealand Rugby and the New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association agreed to a range of payment changes for Super Rugby players, including All Blacks, in which 50 per cent of their pay was “frozen” until the end of the year and they won’t see any of it if there’s no rugby played.

Three New Zealand Super Rugby sides – the Blues, Chiefs and Crusaders – have been forced to make some staff redundant.

With the All Blacks’ mid-year internationals against Wales and Scotland looking increasingly unlikely, Robertson is hopeful that his country’s plans for the revamped domestic tournament could take place as soon as possible.

“That’s the information here at the moment but it all depends on what the government says,” he explained.

“We just need to play a bit of footy. Everyone does. We need to get some sport, get our businesses back on track.”