Melbourne-based franchise the Rebels will temporarily relocate to Canberra ahead of their Super Rugby AU opener following a spike in coronavirus cases in Victoria.
The Rebels play their first fixture in the domestic competition, being held after Super Rugby was suspended due to the global health pandemic, at the Brumbies on July 4.
It was announced on Wednesday the team will travel to the Australian capital on Friday, casting doubt on whether the Rebels can host their round-two fixture against the Reds in Melbourne.
The news follows the decision taken by the NRL to relocate the Melbourne Storm to New South Wales indefinitely, with their fixture against the New Zealand Warriors on Saturday having been moved to Sydney.
Players and staff were tested for COVID-19 on Monday and all returned negative results. The team announced all will be tested again on Thursday.
— Melbourne Rebels (@MelbourneRebels) June 24, 2020
Rebels CEO Baden Stephenson said: “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.
“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.”
The Rebels added a decision as to where the team will be based following the Brumbies fixture will be taken in due course.