Super early start to Southern Hemisphere season

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 11 Sep 2019

Next year's Super Rugby season has been brought forward to late January, the height of the Southern Hemisphere summer with tennis and cricket fixtures still in full swing.

Kick-off times will also be 25-30 minutes earlier for evening matches in a bid to create a more family-friendly environment for the competition. The move "will give young families an opportunity to get out and enjoy the night at the rugby," Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle said.

There will be no mid-season break in June to accommodate internationals because the Test window has been shifted to July. As a result, the season will run from January 31 to June 20, rather than mid-February to early August.

It means the opening weekend will clash with the climax of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne.

The England cricket team's tour of South Africa will also be getting underway in early February, while New Zealand's Black Caps are hosting India.

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