The Melbourne Rebels will relocate to Canberra this Friday morning ahead of their opening Vodafone Super Rugby AU clash with the Brumbies next Saturday 4 July.
With COVID-19 cases in Victoria creating uncertainty for all professional sports, Melbourne Rebels CEO Baden Stephenson indicated the safety of his playing group and the integrity of the competition were critical factors in shaping the Club’s momentous decision.
“This is undoubtedly a very fluid situation and we are committed to keeping our people safe and healthy in accordance with government advice and regulations. At the same time, we will do all that we can to ensure the successful delivery of the Super Rugby AU competition,” stated Stephenson.
“We’ve been in constructive dialogue with Rugby AU, SANZAAR and RUPA for the last 24 hours and we have all agreed that decisive action is required.
“There are a lot of Australians far worse off than us in these challenging times and we are still grateful for the opportunity to return to play and hopefully make our fans proud.”
The playing group and Club staff were most recently tested for COVID-19 on Monday, and all returned negative results. The Club will be tested again on Thursday and are committed to maintaining strict Club enforced protocols.
With the Rebels round one clash with the ACT Brumbies just over a week away, CEO Baden Stephenson remains bullish about the team’s chances despite the obvious challenges.
“This competition was always going to throw up some curve balls and I think the teams that have the ability to adjust on the run will be successful.
“We aren’t changing our performance expectations at all. We have a very tight team and are looking forward to preparing and spending some time together on the road."
At present, a decision about the team’s base following the Brumbies match will be determined in due course.