Rebels to temporarily relocate to Canberra

Super Rugby - AU
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Rebels will relocate to Canberra on Friday and their ability to host a round two home game is in serious doubt after a spike in coronavirus cases in Victoria.

In a statement late on Wednesday, the club announced they would be travelling to the national capital on Friday morning, ahead of their Saturday July 4 Super Rugby AU opener against the Brumbies.

The Rebels' decision follows the NRL's move to relocate the Melbourne Storm to NSW indefinitely and move their scheduled home game for this weekend to Sydney. 

There has also been concerns about Sydney AFL teams travelling down to Melbourne for matches this week, with another 21 new cases reported in Victoria on Wednesday.

All of the Rebels players and staff were tested for coronavirus on Monday after news of a positive test in the AFL and they will be tested again on Thursday before travelling on Friday.

A call is yet to be made on where the Rebels will be based beyond this weekend.

The Rebels are set to host the Reds in round two of the Super Rugby AU competition and this latest decision casts serious doubt over whether they will be able to do that.

Already the potential for crowds to be allowed in was set to be pushed back from the originally mid-July target but the Rebels could in the worst case scenario find themselves in a quarantine hub long-term.

A direct fixture switch would not be possible with the Titans scheduled to play an NRL game at Suncorp Stadium that weekend.

Rebels CEO Baden Stephenson said in the statement that the club simply had to work to ensure games would be able to go ahead.

"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,” Stephenson said.

“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.”

Asked about potential changes to plans for round one earlier on Wednesday in the wake of virus spikes, backrower Michael Wells said the team would be ready for whatever was thrown up by the competition.

"I think it's been mentioned in dispatches but I think those chats are a bit above my pay grade so I kind of just wait to be told what's going on," he said.

"The goal is the tournament and playing games but I think everyone's just happier playing games but whatever makes that happens, the boys will adapt and deal with."

The Brumbies take on the Rebels at GIO Stadium on Saturday July 4, kicking off at 7:15pm AEST, LIVE on Foxtel, Foxtel Now and Kayo Sports. Buy a Kayo subscription here