On the heels of learning that safety concerns resulted in the moving of Saturday’s scheduled Rosehill race meeting to Randwick, we have learned that Super Rugby has put forward a plan to protect players in the days ahead.


While us mere mortals quail at the idea of playing football in temperatures predicted to be 40 C or higher over the weekend, Super Rugby seems to have more concern for airborne particulates.


Canberra, home of the Brumbies, is hazardous from both heat and smokeperspectives.


The Brumbies themselves took the common sense measure during training to move to Newcastle earlier in the month, although as best we can determine at this time, there is no plan to move the game between the Brumbies and the Reds from Canberra to someplace with a cleaner atmosphere.


Other codes have moved fixtures from Canberra, including the BBL, W-League football and more interestingly, indoor fixtures of the WNBL.


Super Rugby will monitor the air for particulates and the players for symptoms of smoke inhalation and other weather-related issues, such as dehydration and heat prostration.


Uncontrolled bushfires are inside of five kilometres from some Canberra residents, with the ACT’s Namadgi National Park in the process of being reduced to ashes.


A SANZAR statement read, in part, “Naturally, the continued welfare of our players and indeed spectators is a priority for us should such incidents continue to affect the Australian landscape.It is therefore prudent of us to put in place these guidelines with our stakeholders.”


We commend Super Rugby for being proactive, especially in light of the reality that while the fires have been burning for some time, the league had to wait until closer to the beginning of the season before engaging in a wild rush to react to the unpredictable nature of the unprecedented  bushfire season.


The fires will go out or be contained eventually, but the larger issue of high temperatures will be around for now and the years ahead, with temperatures routinely climbing near and to 40C, a level that makes simply staying alive, let alone playing football, challenging.

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