Super Rugby 2020: Chiefs unsure if South Africa tour will go ahead due to coronavirus

The Chiefs are awaiting word that their two-match Super Rugby tour to South Africa will go ahead, due to the coronavirus. 

On Monday, the Hamilton-based side are due to fly out to South Africa, where they will face the Sharks and Lions. 

Matches in New Zealand and South Africa are proceeding as scheduled, with no plans to bar spectators, but in Australia, fans will be barred from next week. 

South Africa has 24 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, but with so much uncertainty around global sport, the Chiefs may have to stay home. 

Most major competitions around the world have suspended play until at least the end of March, but Super Rugby continues as usual this weekend.

Chiefs coach Warren Gatland said the team would know more in the next 24 hours. 

Chiefs coach Warren Gatland.
Chiefs coach Warren Gatland. Photo credit: Getty

"There are lots of competitions around the world that have been suspended or cancelled," Gatland explained, after the Chiefs' 27-24 loss to the Hurricanes. 

"There's a meeting between SANZAR and Super Rugby taking place. We're meant to get on the plane on Monday, but we'll wait and see."  

Chiefs captain Sam Cane said New Zealand Rugby (NZR) had been very open about discussions over their travel.  

"At the moment, we're going, but I trust NZR will make the right decision. It's crazy around the world at the moment."  

On Saturday, SA Rugby announced the cancellation of international events featuring the Junior Springboks, due to COVID-19, but will wait for advice from SANZAAR over Super Rugby events.

The decision comes after the suspension of the multinational Pro14 competition - which features two South African teams, as well as those from Italy, Ireland, Scotland and Wales - and World Rugby's postponement of the sevens challenger series event, scheduled for Stellenbosch this month. 

SA Rugby had also introduced internal protocols in line with government advice to counter the virus threat.

"We will immediately advise the rugby community of any change in the status of our competitions and business operations, if and when the situation changes," said SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux. 

The Highlanders are currently in Buenos Aires and will face the Jaguares behind closed doors on Sunday. 

Argentina has 21 confirmed cases and one death. 

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