Tuesday’s Rugby News looks at Crowds for Super Rugby Aotearoa and star recruit Suliasi Vunivalu looks for certainty.
Crowds Allowed For Super Rugby Aoteoroa
Super Rugby Aotearoa will be the first rugby comp in the world to allow crowds at matches in the post-COVID-19 world.
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has confirmed there will be no limit on crowd numbers when the Highlanders play the Chiefs at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday 13 June and the Blues host the Hurricanes at Eden Park the following day, Sunday 14 June.
The welcome news for rugby fans comes after the Government confirmed New Zealand will move to Alert Level 1 at midnight tonight lifting all restrictions on mass gatherings including at stadiums.
NZR Chief Executive Mark Robinson said the Government announcement was fantastic news for rugby.
“It is a testament to all New Zealanders that we are in a position to lift restrictions on mass gatherings and it’s a massive boost for Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa,” he said.
“We’re incredibly proud, and grateful, to be the first professional sports competition in the world to be in a position to have our teams play in front of their fans again. It’s going to be a very special and unique competition and it’s fitting that New Zealanders now have a chance to be part of it.”
Suliasi Vunivalu Looking For Reassurance.
Star Reds and Rugby Australia recruit Suliasi Vunivalu will seek reassurances from the bodies regarding his contract due to start next season. Suliasi is understandably nervous after rugby like everything else fell apart after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vunivalu said he’d had the blinkers on resuming playing with the Storm following the NRL competition shut down and hadn’t kept on top of rugby’s financial crisis.
“Some of the boys have been giving me a heads up on what’s been going but I haven’t really had a chat with my manager,” Vunivalu told AAP. “But I will be talking to him this weekend.”
Vunivalu said if his two-year contract was guaranteed he would happily return to the game he played as a junior both in Fiji and New Zealand before joining Melbourne in 2016.
Ex-Storm winger Marika Koroibete has enjoyed huge success since switching to rugby with Melbourne Rebels and the Wallabies, winning the John Eales Medal last year as the best Australian player.
“If my contract is still there then I’m happy to go on with it but if not then we’ll see where we go from there,” the 24-year-old said.
The winger said if the RA deal fell through his choice would be to stay in Melbourne.
“My kids and family are all here in Melbourne so this is where I want to stay,” Vunivalu said.
“I love the city and especially the club so if they still want me here then I’d want to stay.”
He obviously has no idea how good living in Queensland is.