WELLINGTON: New Zealand’s Super Rugby players will begin what coaches have deemed to be a “second pre-season” today as they return to training following a relaxation of health and travel restrictions imposed after the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Southern hemisphere rugby’s governing body Sanzar postponed the Super Rugby season in March after just seven weeks of the competition as governments responded to the spreading pandemic with border closures and travel shutdowns.
New Zealand’s government also introduced a nationwide lockdown before it loosened restrictions in late April and then further eased them on Thursday, allowing for the resumption of professional sport.
New Zealand Rugby, facing a multi-million dollar loss this year due to the pandemic, announced earlier this week a new domestic competition involving its five Super Rugby teams would start on June 13.
Players are expected to turn up for their first meetings today and then ease into training to allow their bodies to get used to the high-impact collisions they can expect to face again next month.
“Along with everyone else, this period of time (away) makes a rugby player’s body feel pretty good,” Canterbury Crusaders coach Scott Robertson told Stuff Media yesterday.
“It is going to be a second pre-season for us in many ways.”