Live updates: NZ Super Rugby franchises return to training park

Live coverage has concluded - tune into Newshub Live at 6pm for more.....

4:44pm - Beauden Barrett's 4min 12sec 'Bronco' time was well ahead of his brother according to a surprised Hurricanes coach Jason Holland.

"I bet [Jordie] beat his brother," Holland said when asked if he was aware Beauden Barrett had run his first 'Bronco' test with the Blues.

"Oh really?," Holland replied when informed of Beauden's time. "Shit, that's much better than Jordie," who ran a 4min 24. 

4:33pm - Hurricanes coach Jason Holland on his first day back at work: "It's been a really cool day today.

"Everyone is just relieved and grateful that we get the opportunity to do what we love.

"It's been a good day."

4:08pm - Be sure to tune into Newshub Live at 6pm tonight for a wrap of all the five Super Rugby teams on their first day back at work.

3:07pm - Former All Black Aaron Cruden wants that ring!....or trophy or whatever they come up with. Read the full story here.

2:41pm - The Hurricanes are back at work today to, including All Black back Ngani Laumape.

2:38pm - The more I look at 'The Bronco', the more I'm happier I wasn't gifted with any athletic capabilities. 

2:31pm - Chiefs star Aaron Cruden on his first day back on the training park - full story coming soon. 

"You could certainly see the smiles on the faces.

"We realise we are in a fortunate position to be back in the rugby environment, but you can see all the boys are happy to be back together and to rip into things."

1:26pm - 'The Bronco' is bascially an intense version of a beep test.

1:16pm - All Blacks and Blues star Beauden Barrett on his 'Bronco' effort: "It's a PB mate," Barrett says exhaustedly.

"Got to be happy with a PB, but I don't know how much kicking I'll be doing after this." 

1:14pm - "It's a no-contact thermometer - we are just making sure none of the players have a high temperature," says the Blues doctor.

1:13pm - All Blues players are temperature checked on arrival, before they tear into what they call the 'Bronco' fitness test.

1:10pm - The Blues have decided to split up their squad for opening day. The Auckland-based franchise have opted for seperate backs and forwards 'bubbles' to limit the amount of people on site.

12:45pm - Crusaders players have contact-tracing procedures to complete on arrival to Rugby Park.

12:31pm - Crusaders flanker Whetu Douglas on returning to some sort of normal: "I have young children at home, so it's been awesome to spend some quality time with them.

"I'm loving this though... been excited all morning and been here a couple of hours waiting to get in.

"It's good to be back.

12:19pm - Players from the Crusaders are temperature-checked on arrival by the team doctor.

12:17pm - The Crusaders have arrived at Rugby Park in Christchurch - the players are all "super excited" to be back.

New Zealand's best rugby players are returning to work today, as all five Super Rugby Aoeteroa franchises hit the training park for the first time in two months. 

With the move to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 and restrictions lifted around professional sport, the national game is edging closer to resumption. 

Players and coaches will undergo strict medical protocols to ensure everyone stays healthy in a month-long 'pre-season' build-up to the now-domestic format. Among those precautions, media are excluded from training sessions during this initial week of training.

The revamped competition is scheduled to kick off on June 13, when the Highlanders host The five NZ franchises will play each other home and away over 10 weeks, with two matches every weekend at 5:05pm on Saturdays and 3:05pm Sundays. 

Each side will have two byes.

Matches will be played in closed stadiums, until the Government advises an approach for managing mass gatherings in controlled venues that will allow fans to return.

The venues confirmed to date are Hamilton's FMG Stadium, Wellington's Sky Stadium and  Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium, with Christchurch and Auckland yet to be announced.

Players must adhere to strict sanitation and hygiene guidelines, as NZ Rugby desperately tries to avoid anyone contracting the coronavirus.

But acting medical advisor Dr Deb Robinson believes the strict protocols put in place will prevent a mass competition-wide outbreak, if a player or coach tests positive. 

"We've asked the players to keep their personal bubbles smaller than what they may have done at Level 2, as that decreases the risk of transmission," Robinson says. 

"We are holding the players at a higher standard than the rest of the country, because we really want the competition to go well. 

"If we get a singular case, it will very much be situational dependent. It will depend on who it is, how they present and how many people they have come in contact with.

"We don't think it will stymy the whole competition - the rules around contact tracing are exactly the same. 

"It may create a hiccup or two, but I don't think it would result in the competition stopping." 

Join us throughout the day for on-going coverage, as Super Rugby kick starts in 2020.

More to come

Live updates: NZ Super Rugby franchises return to training park