The first rugby Test between Australia and France on 7 July has been moved from the SCG to Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane to avoid the Covid-19 lockdown in Sydney. The French squad is midway through a two-week lockdown ahead of the three-Test series.
“It’s never an easy decision to move a fixture,” Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos said in a statement. “One thing that the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us is that we have to be able to pivot quickly.
“Following the announcement yesterday, we were faced with yet another challenge and we knew we had to respond swiftly.”
It would have been the Wallabies’ first Test match at the SCG in 35 years. Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane will now host the first and third matches of the series against France, with game two at AAMI Park in Melbourne on July 13. A two-match women’s Test series between Australia and Samoa has also been postponed.
“We will continue to work with the respective health authorities around Australia to ensure all events are safely delivered for fans, players and officials,” said Marinos. “I am equally disappointed for our Wallaroos squad following the postponement of their series.
“It’s been a really challenging year for them with the postponement of the Rugby World Cup to 2022 and now this delay, before we can finally see them finally taking the field in the coming months.”
With New South Wales recording 30 new locally acquired cases of coronavirus on Sunday and Sydney in a 14-day lockdown, the Western Force’s women’s team have pulled out of the Super W competition after just one round.
The Force drew 17-17 with the President’s XV in their season opener last week and were due to take on the NSW Waratahs in Coffs Harbour on Sunday. But that game has now been cancelled after the Force made the decision to abandon the competition due to safety fears.
The Force will now return to Perth, which imposed its own restrictions on Sunday after a Covid-19 scare in Western Australia. Force players will have to complete two weeks of quarantine on arriving back in Perth.
North Melbourne’s AFL players and staff were forced into isolation on Sunday, having been at Melbourne airport at the same time as a confirmed case.
There were also concerns for Hawthorn’s VFL affiliate team Box Hill, who took on a club that travelled on the same flight as an infected flight attendant.
AFL fans in Perth were turned away from Sunday’s clash between West Coast and the Western Bulldogs at Optus Stadium after WA’s Covid-19 scare.
Supporters were also locked out of the international hockey matches between the Australian and New Zealand men’s and women’s teams in Perth.