Super Rugby Trans-Tasman ditches plans for single venue 'super round'

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(Reuters) - Super Rugby's Trans-Tasman competition has abandoned plans for a "super round" this year, where all 10 teams would play in a single city in one weekend, but will explore the concept in the future, New Zealand Rugby's Chris Lendrum said on Wednesday.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday the country would allow quarantine-free visits from Australia from April 19, raising the likelihood that the competition scheduled to begin on May 14 will go ahead.

NZR's head of professional rugby Lendrum said the idea of the single-city round had been put on hold and the five fixtures in the third round of the six-week competition would now be held at different venues.

"That's one thing we've run out of runway to do this year," Lendrum told reporters. "With the uncertainty building into it, it was too hard to contemplate basing ourselves in one city.

"It's certainly a concept we want to explore in the future when conditions around our competition are more settled. We're working on the venues for round three fixtures now and will announce those in due course.

"We're going to have a scenario where some teams now have three home games and some teams have two, but we're encouraging clubs who play each other that weekend to have a commercial discussion about how proceeds of the game are shared."

The five Super Rugby teams from Australia and New Zealand have been restricted to domestic competitions since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the 25th season of the inter-continental version last March.

Governing body SANZAAR is taking stock of the announcement by the New Zealand PM on Tuesday and may yet have to rejig the already-published schedule to reduce the number of times the teams fly across the Tasman Sea.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)