Australian domestic competition put on hold

Australia's new domestic rugby tournament will not kick off as planned on 3 April. With the 2020 Super Rugby season having been suspended earlier this month due to the coronavirus pandemic, a remodelled domestic competition - involving Australia's four Super Rugby teams and the Force - was 'in the final stages of approval'. However, it has now been suspended until at least 1 May, with a further review to follow in mid-April. Rugby Australia said the federal and state governments' escalating shutdown measures to help contain the spread of the virus had prompted the call. The AFL's decision on Sunday to suspend its season - having played the opening round of Aussie rules matches behind closed doors - would also have played a role. 'Our priority is the health and welfare of our athletes and our wider rugby community as we continue to adapt to an unprecedented and constantly-evolving situation for our game and society,' said RA chief executive Raelene Castle. 'The decision to postpone the restart of the competition until 1 May is in line with the suspension of all community rugby in Australia and will give us the opportunity to review our position across the whole rugby landscape in a month's time.' RA said all Australian Super Rugby teams will stop training for two weeks, before undergoing modified training programmes in mid-April.