We picked up the report first on Rugby365.com where Jan de Koning reported on the impact on Super Rugby of Japan cancelling all sporting events for the next two weeks in order to try to prevent (or limit) the spread of the Coronavirus.
As a result, he writes that while Sunwolves fans might feel short-changed, the relocation of two of their team’s games has left us with an unexpected spin-off:
“The Sunwolves versus Brumbies match is now played at the ‘neutral’ venue of Wollongong in Sydney, prior to the Waratahs versus Chiefs match – leaving us with a unique doubleheader.”
Unfortunately, there’s a scheduling cock-up that SANZAAR was unable to resolve with the TV networks. The first match will kick-off at 14.45 (05:45 our time) but the people in the ground will have to wait until 19:15 (10:15 our time) for the second match: Waratahs vs Chiefs.
Presumably, the stadium will play the Crusaders vs Reds match (which happens in between) on the big screen. That will theoretically make it a triple-header but we’ll see if it manages to draw a bigger crowd to Wollongong.
Next week, the scheduling will be better. Sunwolves vs Crusaders will now be played prior to the Reds versus Bulls match in Brisbane. Again, the size of the crowd will be interesting.
“While the Blues versus Lions match is still scheduled for Eden Park next Saturday (March 14), the kick-off time has been changed from 19.05 local time to 16.25 local time (to accommodate the scheduling of the Sunwolves versus Crusaders match).”
It could be a very interesting weekend of Super Rugby, and not necessarily for the usual reasons: the quality of the rugby or the abysmal standard of refereeing. You can find de Koning’s preview of today’s matches here and he’ll probably post his preview of Saturday’s matches sometime later today. And you can see the schedule on page eight.