ARU turns up heat on early season start - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

ARU turns up heat on early season start

By Jim Morton 02/03/2009 06:39:39 PM Comments (0)

John O'Neill wants to wipe 'sunscreen rugby' off the Super 14 calendar after the collapse of Springboks flanker Juan Smith in summer-time Brisbane heat.

Cheetahs skipper Smith was rushed to hospital with heat stress and concussion after falling in the dressing room following his team's 22-3 loss to Queensland at Suncorp Stadium.

The breakaway, one of the fittest men in South African rugby, was recovering on the Gold Coast on Monday after requiring a saline drip to restore his fluids overnight.

"Juan is a great player and he's played all around the world but he said that's the worst conditions he's ever played in," a Cheetahs official told AAP.

Queensland's forwards reported they lost between four to seven kilograms while playing in 32-degree heat and 66 per cent humidity in the rare afternoon game.

"It did take its toll on quite a few players," said Reds lock Van Humphries, who shed 7kg from his 115kg frame.

"I wouldn't want to play too many games in that heat, that's for sure."

The match was moved to a 4pm Sunday kick-off due to Football Federation Australia booking the venue months ago with the prospect of Queensland Roar hosting the A-League grand final on Friday or Saturday night.

But Australian Rugby Union boss O'Neill doesn't want to see any Super 14 matches, day or night, played before mid-March in future.

O'Neill set off on Monday for a SANZAR board meeting in Dubai where he will bring up the heat issue and also move for an expanded competition.

"Personally, I think we start Super rugby too early and that's one of the things on the agenda for the SANZAR board meeting," he said at a news conference in Sydney.

"Late February, early March in Brisbane is a very humid, hot place and an afternoon game to boot.

"When it starts to get a bit cooler and off the beach then you are into rugby mode and I think that explains why the crowds are down a touch."

ARU chief medical officer Martin Raftery and Reds medics conceded the game was played within the International Rugby Board guidelines.

But both teams wished, in hindsight, that referee Ian Smith had taken up the entitlement to provide a drinks break midway through both halves.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

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