Global Rapid Rugby season cancelled
The 2020 Global Rapid Rugby season was cancelled on Tuesday with travel restrictions enforced to fight COVID-19 making playing out the campaign impossible.
Just one round of fixtures was able to be played before the competition was suspended on the 15th of March after crucial match venues and travel hubs New Zealand and Australia both closed their borders to non-citizens.
With no indication as to when those restrictions might be lifted or the worldwide public health situation might improve, Global Rapid Rugby said they have no choice but to cancel in a press release on Tuesday.
“We have never been scared of hard work or seemingly impossible challenges, but in the current circumstances feel that our hand has been forced to upgrade our previous Season One suspension to a complete cancellation,” competition chief executive officer Mark Evans said in a statement.
COVID-19 had previously forced matches scheduled to be played in China and Hong Kong to be shifted to venues in other countries or deferred.
“All of our decisions around Global Rapid Rugby in 2020 have been based on expert health advice; there are global realities and challenges that cannot and should not be ignored or worked around,” Evans explained.
“We will continue to work closely with all teams and stakeholders around potential future plans.”
“The immediate future may be full of uncertainty, but the bigger picture is full of exciting opportunities for rugby in the Asia Pacific region.”
After losing their inaugural Global Rapid Rugby match 52-27 to the South China Tigers in Perth, Australia, Invest Samoa Manumā had to serve two weeks in self-isolation in Auckland before they could leave New Zealand for Samoa.
The team then got stuck when New Zealand introduced further measures to help contain COVID-19 last month, including the grounding of all outgoing international flights.
Those restrictions are set to expire on the 22nd of April, and at least until then the Manumā will remain cooped up in their Auckland accommodation at the Samoa Rugby Union’s expense.