Rugby 2020: SANZAAR's radical solution to keep Super Rugby, Rugby Championship alive

SANZAAR chief executive Andy Marinos has proposed a radical idea to ensure both Super Rugby and the Rugby Championship can still go ahead this year.

On Tuesday, Marinos told Newshub that having the two competitions running in parallel with each other could ensure neither is further impacted by COVID-19.

For 26 years, Super Rugby has provided the platform to build into the Tri Nations and, more recently, the Rugby Championship.

But with coronavirus throwing the rugby calendar into turmoil, Marinos has been forced to think outside the box. 

"Could you be playing the Rugby Championship at the same time as a domestic competition?" Marinos said.

"It's not trying to rubbish one for the other, it's how do we get a sensible solution in what may be a restricted time frame?"

That scenario would see Super Rugby sides playing without their international players during Rugby Championship test-match windows.

Preferably, it wouldn't come to that, but the unpredictability of COVID-19 means Marinos is having to plan for several different scenarios.

And he's ready to follow the NRL's lead for one of them.

"Logic would suggest, if there is an ability to create - like what we've seen with the NRL - around a bubble, if it's all in one location, it seems a bit easier."

Marinos thinks the NRL's solution of a one-state competition would work for the Rugby Championship, if border controls allowed it.

"At this point in time, we'd be silly to rule out anything."

But in the meantime, SANZAAR is desperately trying to get a domestic form of Super Rugby underway that would see each team stay in their home country, with the Sunwolves based in Australia and the Jaguares in South Africa.

"We are hellbent and have every intention of delivering the complete package," Marinos added.

Marinos does concede the obvious - that no rugby will be played before May.

He insisted they still have enough time to get both Super Rugby and the Rugby Championship completed, but he wouldn't speculate on when.

Clearly, though, every idea is firmly on the table.

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