New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has announced wage cuts for its staff as it faces up to huge losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and confirmed its five Super Rugby franchises will receive grants.

Reports suggest the governing body could lose out on 100million New Zealand dollars in revenue.

Chief executive Mark Robinson said NZR staff and its board are taking a 40 per cent cut for at least three months.

It follows similar measures taken by other top-tier rugby nations.

"It's an incredibly challenging time, we have fantastic rugby people all around the country at the moment dealing with difficult financial circumstances," Robinson told reporters.

NZR also confirmed its Super Rugby teams will receive an emergency grant to help ensure they are prepared for when the competition can resume.

"An emergency NZR grant of $250,000 each is to be made available to all Super Rugby clubs for the next three months which is seen as a critical supplement to other financing options or levers being considered by the clubs," Robinson added.

"Super Rugby is a vital part of our rugby eco-system and has a solid 25-year track record as a strong and admired rugby competition that has valuable intellectual property and a legacy of world-class rugby.

"These decisions are about protecting the core capability of the Super Rugby clubs so that they are ready to hit the ground running if Super Rugby resumes later this year, and also be in a position to revive and participate in Super Rugby in whatever shape it takes in 2021 and beyond.

"The Super Rugby clubs and NZR have also agreed to pause the negotiation of Super Rugby franchise licenses and use this time to review the business principles and governance of the competition so that the future of the clubs is sustainable, and they are match ready."

Michael Fatialofa has opened up on his "traumatising" experience in intensive care and described suffering his serious spine injury as "pretty scary".

The Worcester Warriors lock sustained a fracture in his C4 vertebrae as well as a spinal contusion, a condition which causes compression on the spine, during the Premiership encounter with Saracens on January 4.

Fatialofa spent four weeks at St Mary's Hospital in London, three of those in intensive care, before being transferred to a specialist spinal clinic at the Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital.

Last month, his wife Tatiana posted a video on Instagram of Fatialofa walking unaided, which she described as "a miracle".

In an interview with 1 NEWS, Fatialofa spoke about those life-changing events.

"I wasn't even trying to be a hero or anything. I think it was just the perfect mix - my head was in a bad position. His hip was there and it was just one of those things," he said.

"From my neck down, I couldn't feel anything or move anything.

"It was pretty scary and I was really short of breath because ... the spinal cord was compressed and anything below the spinal cord is affected, and that includes my lungs, and I was just kind of trying to breathe."

On being in intensive care, he added: "It's a time that's tough to think about.

"My room-mates were victims of gun violence and stabbings and I could hear everything going on. Just all the beeping and no sleep. It's something I don't really like thinking about now that I'm past it.

"I heard some people die next to me. It was quite traumatising. All I could hear was a beeper go off, everyone rush in and then I have a new room-mate the next day."

Rugby Australia (RA) has stood down 75 per cent of its workforce for three months in a move it called "the toughest decision in the game's history".

Its remaining staff have been offered significant salary reductions or reduced hours after the coronavirus outbreak brought Super Rugby and the international game to a halt.

RA chief executive Raelene Castle has agreed to a 50 per cent pay cut, while other executives will receive 30 per cent less from April 1 until June 30.

Plans to launch a five-team domestic competition during the suspension of Super Rugby have been put on hold until at least May 1.

Castle said in a statement on Tuesday: "Today we have had to deliver the hardest news imaginable to our incredible, hard-working and passionate staff, that many of them will be stood down for a three-month period so that the game can survive this unprecedented crisis.

"Since the suspension of our proposed domestic Super Rugby competition, we have been working to understand both the immediate and long-term financial implications for the game as a result of the suspension of the competition, and potential further loss of revenue-generating content as we look ahead to the international season.

"Our extensive modelling shows that as a code, we could lose up to [AU]$120million in revenue should it not be possible for any rugby to be played in 2020. Of course, that is the worst-case scenario, and we are very hopeful that we can recommence the Super Rugby season and domestic Wallabies Test matches at some point this year.

"The measures we will implement from April 1, although extremely painful, are necessary to ensure the sport remains financially viable and to ensure that we are able to come out the other side of this global crisis, fully operational and ready to throw everything into the rebuild. It is our priority to keep all of our valued team connected and engaged through this period.

"We shared with the Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA) today the breadth of our cost-cutting including the standing down of 75 per cent of our staff. We will work closely with RUPA to reach an agreement which is appropriate given this unprecedented situation.

"I want to pay tribute to each and every member of staff across our rugby organisations and once again stress that once we get through this crisis, and we will, rugby will be back stronger than ever. All staff on stand down will have continued access to Rugby Australia support services during this time."

The Rebels and Brumbies announced all their employees would be stood down or continue with reduced pay until the end of June.

USA Rugby has filed for bankruptcy as the coronavirus pandemic takes its toll on sport across the world.

In a statement on Monday, USA Rugby said the impact of COVID-19 has accelerated existing financial issues after voting to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy.

USA Rugby suspended sanctioned competition and rugby activities indefinitely on March 20 due to the coronavirus crisis.

The American union will undergo a restructuring process with input from World Rugby, while the United States' men's and women's senior national teams will continue to compete as normal when the sport returns.

"This is the most challenging period this organisation has faced and all resolves were never taken lightly in coming to this determination," said USA Rugby Chair Barbara O'Brien.

"While the current climate is of course much larger than rugby, we remain focused with stakeholders and supporters in the continued effort toward a balanced rugby community where the game can truly grow."

Globally, there have been over 37,700 deaths and at least 784,380 confirmed cases.

In the United States, more than 3,100 people have succumbed to the virus, with over 163,400 cases.

The British and Irish Lions have no concerns that the rescheduling of the Tokyo Olympic Games will overshadow the tour of South Africa next year.

It was announced on Monday that the Games in Japan will be staged from July 23 to August 8, 2021 after being postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Lions start the three-Test series against world champions South Africa on July 24, with further showdowns to come on July 31 and August 7.

Lions managing director Ben Calveley says kick-off times will prevent sports lovers from missing any of the action.

"Fans should not miss out on any action," said Calveley.

"We are determined to play our part in what will be an extraordinary summer of sport."

He added: "The priority right now has to be the safety and well-being of all those affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

"There should not be any direct clashes with Lions matches and Olympic events given the time difference between South Africa and Tokyo.

"We are expecting a fantastic series against the world champions."

Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle has taken a 50 per cent pay cut as part of cost-saving measures during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, RA reported a provisional deficit of 9.4million Australian dollars in 2019, largely due to the expense of the Rugby World Cup, fewer home Test matches, and higher extra expenditures such as the Israel Folau settlement.

With rugby competitions on hold due to the threat of COVID-19, RA finances are set to take a greater hit due to the loss of matchday and broadcast revenue.

Castle confirmed on Monday that she will be reducing her salary by AUD400,000, while the rest of her executive team will take 30 per cent pay cuts for at least the next three months.

It is anticipated players may now accept similar salary cuts while the pandemic continues.

Justin Harrison, CEO of the Rugby Union Players' Association (RUPA), said: "As a playing group, the members take an indication that pay cuts of between 30 and 50 per cent are considered adequate to help nurse the game through this crisis.

"Our fear was deeper cuts might be needed and that the game was in a financial black hole."

Castle explained: "It's important that we keep Rugby Australia, Super [Rugby] teams and other member unions all in a financially viable situation over the next three months to make sure any decisions we make going forward for rugby in this country will be made with time, with the accurate financial information, and we can make any of those decisions calmly and in a considered way knowing that we've got certainties for at least the next three months.

"Those decisions are significant, and we will continue to work closely with government and with COMPPS [Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports] around how an industry package for sport might be developed for all of sport.

"We're in constant dialogue with government around any financial situation we find ourselves in and that we might have for additional loans for grants or loan facilities."

Rugby Australia (RA) reported a provisional deficit of 9.4 million Australian dollars in 2019 after holding its annual general meeting on Monday.

The meeting was held via video conference and RA was unable to provide full financial accounts due to uncertainty because of the coronavirus pandemic.

RA said it operated at a loss in 2019, as it expected, in a Rugby World Cup year and due to fewer domestic Test matches.

Increased expenditure in community rugby, high performance and marketing and corporate, including the Israel Folau settlement, led to its deficit.

RA chief executive Raelene Castle last year labelled reports the governing body paid Folau eight million AUD after his sacking as "wildly inaccurate".

"These are unprecedented and extremely uncertain times for our world, not only our sport with the global pandemic of COVID-19," RA chairman Paul McLean said in a statement.

"To put it simply, there is no way of knowing what damage this crisis will have on our game, or for how long it will continue to impact us.

"It has forced us to make some extremely difficult decisions, and there will be even harder decisions to come as we continue to navigate the implications of the virus on the game's finances.

"It was important for us today to review the year and reflect on our learnings from 2019, however the uncertainty that we are facing regarding our immediate future naturally led the discussion at the meeting."

Bath captain Charlie Ewels has slammed reports suggesting the club's players revolted after being asked to take a pay cut due to financial pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this week, chief executive Tarquin McDonald announced Bath had asked players and staff to take a 25 per cent cut, with several other Premiership sides taking similar measures.

Sunday's edition of The Rugby Paper suggested Bath players were planning to reject the request, something England lock Ewels rejected.

"You might have seen the front page of The Rugby Paper today and if you did, given what we are all experiencing at this time, it would be fair if you felt a sense of disbelief or even disgrace at the headline which reads 'Bath stars revolt over pay cuts'," Ewels wrote in an open letter to Bath supporters.

"As captain of our club, I can categorically say that these reports are not true, and as a playing group, we are not in revolt against our club. In fact, it's quite the opposite, we wish to work with the club through this extremely challenging time so we can get back to where we all want to be, playing rugby at the Rec again.  

"Everyone at Bath Rugby is committed to working through this together, and the players within the squad that I am fortunate enough to serve as captain are no different. We play rugby for a living and we understand that if we are not playing games, then there is no money coming in. It is a difficult time for everyone at the club, however, we are all on this journey together.

"We as players understand everything happening across the globe is having a huge impact, and that impact is reaching far beyond us. I can say that I 100 per cent support the principle of the pay cuts, as do the majority of players at the club, believing they are what is right to guide the club through this tough period.

"Like players at all other clubs, we have been guided by the advice of our union the RPA during this hugely uncertain time. We are seeking answers to some specific questions regarding players on lower salaries and players coming to the end of their contracts.

"However, we are discussing these questions openly and transparently with Stuart [Hooper, director of rugby] and Tarquin and I know we will find the right answers in due course. We will do what is right for the future of our people, our club and our game." 

New Zealand head coach Ian Foster has agreed to a "big" cut in his salary during the coronavirus pandemic.

Foster confirmed he and his fellow coaches have already reached an agreement with New Zealand Rugby, while discussions with players are also at an advanced stage.

"Our coaching group has definitely taken a big cut," Foster said to Newstalk ZB.

"That's already been agreed to - with rugby when there's no games, there's no revenue, and that's a tough thing. There's been a lot of shaving of the programmes inside and what it's also come down to is cutting.

"It's a different sort of process for players but I know they're willing to go into that space too.

"Theirs is a more complex [situation] - but it's a given and they understand that. It's just a matter of working it through so all the different levels of players are dealt with fairly.

"I haven't heard one player yet who doesn't accept that it's going to happen. There's a real willingness of those involved in the game to get behind this and do whatever it takes to make sure [the game] survives."

Foster believes the three home Test matches scheduled for July, two against Wales and another against Scotland, are unlikely to go ahead.

He wants the All Blacks players to maintain a base level of fitness, though conceded a "short period" would still be needed after the lockdown to up their levels to full match readiness.

"If you look at the probability, there's a reasonably good chance that international travel and borders won't be down across the world at that point, so in that case the All Blacks won't be playing in July,” he added.

"[If we keep players at peak fitness] they'll just blow out mentally and get really frustrated with that because there’s so much uncertainty.

"We want the players to settle down then we'll start expecting fitness levels to be at a certain point that when the lockdown finishes and we do start to think about a starting point for rugby again."

Michael Cheika admitted he vacated the Australia hotseat with deep regret at failing to achieve his personal targets.

The Wallabies were Rugby World Cup finalists under Cheika's leadership in 2015, and recognition for that achievement came when the Sydney native landed World Rugby's Coach of the Year award.

However, last year's World Cup was one of grim failure for Australia, with a 40-16 thrashing by England in the quarter-finals sending Cheika's side out of the tournament.

It was a jarring loss for Cheika, who soon declared he would stand down as head coach, and the 53-year-old has since changed tack, crossing codes to work with NRL side Sydney Roosters.

Speaking to Fox Sports, Cheika said: “Am I satisfied in the end? No, because I wanted to win a Bledisloe and win the World Cup and I wasn’t able to do that.

"That hurts me personally because I really value the supporter on the street and I know that’s what they want."

Pertinently, he witnessed disappointments reflected in his nearest and dearest.

“I see it in my own family," Cheika said. "The kids are watching the game, all dressed in their jerseys and then the next morning, if you lose, they’re unhappy."

A Randwick great, Cheika has also coached Leinster, Stade Francais and the Waratahs in a stellar career.

Frustrations have been raised by many observers over the relationship between Rugby Australia and the Super Rugby teams, and whether each is acting in the other's best interests.

Cheika said of his time in charge of the Wallabies: "Considering the circumstances we had going on in Australian rugby in the last five years, we always represented with maximum courage."

He added: "The Wallabies are a result of our preparations in Super Rugby and they’ve been difficult because we’ve had a lot going on."

Scotland rugby union fans have been starved of success in recent times but March 27 is a date when they can always raise a glass to a moment of history.

Way back in 1871, Scotland beat neighbours England in the first ever international in Edinburgh.

It was also a memorable day in the NBA, with a record crowd in attendance as Michael Jordan starred at Georgia Dome in 1998.

Here, we take a look back at the some of the most notable sporting moments that occurred on this date down the years.

1871 - Buchanan and Scotland make history

A crowd of 4,000 flocked to Raeburn Place in Edinburgh to watch history be made.

It was the hosts who came out on top, scoring two tries and a goal to England's solitary try – with Scotland's Angus Buchanan the first man to touch down over the whitewash at international level.

There were two halves of 50 minutes apiece, with 20 players on each side and the contest decided by goals scored.

1998 – Bulls clip the Hawks' wings in front of record crowd 

Twenty-two years ago, 62,046 spectators watched on at the Georgia Dome as the Atlanta Hawks took on the Chicago Bulls.

It remains the largest crowd at any game in NBA history, having surpassed the record of 61,983 set at Detroit Pistons v Boston Celtics in 1988.

Inspired by NBA icon Jordan, the Bulls downed their hosts 89-74.

2007 – Video replays introduced to help NFL officials

On March 27, 2007, NFL owners voted to utilise video replays as a tool to assist officials – the vote passed with 30 owners in favour of the move.

Cincinnati Bengals and the Arizona Cardinals did not agree to the use of replays, with each team paying up to $300,000 to have the necessary equipment fitted at their stadiums.

"It's a long time coming," said then-Atlanta Falcons general manager Rich McKay. "It made sense to us this year to do it. Instant replay is an accepted part of the game. It's what we are. There was not really much discussion about it."

In the same meeting, a proposal to allow a second interviewing window for assistant coaches on Super Bowl teams was approved, though it was decided defenses would not be allowed to use a coach-to-player communication device.

The Bulls have appointed Jake White as director of rugby on a deal until the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

White, who masterminded South Africa's 2007 World Cup triumph, had until recently been coaching Toyota Verblitz in Japan but is now back in his homeland.

The 56-year-old fills the role Alan Zondagh vacated last month and starts work immediately.

White joins a Super Rugby franchise that had won just one of six matches before the season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: "The Bulls brand has always been a powerhouse in rugby, and respected around the world. There's a great history and heritage here, and I'm looking forward to adding my contribution to the Bulls' legacy.

"The shareholders, Remgro, Patrice Motsepe and the BBRU [Blue Bulls Rugby Union], together with the staff, have an amazing ambition to not only take the Bulls back to number one, but also re-invent and re-mould the face of rugby in this country."

South African rugby union as a whole is coming off the immense high of winning the World Cup last November, and now White wants to bring success to Pretoria.

White added: "We need to re-build a winning culture at Loftus, and that will no doubt bring the fans back to their beloved Loftus Versfeld. This won't be easy, but we are up for it.

"It's no secret that our franchise rugby needs to be strong for the Boks to be strong. I'm looking forward to doing whatever it takes to help keep them at number one."

Dane Coles is prepared to take a pay cut and hopes other players will also undergo a financial hit during the coronavirus crisis to help ease the burden on New Zealand Rugby.

The Super Rugby season was suspended last week and plans for an alternative domestic competition have been put on hold amid the global pandemic.

New Zealand Rugby is set to be given financial assistance from the government during such unprecedented times.

All Blacks and Hurricanes hooker Coles says the players must also play a part.

"It's inevitable [that a pay cut will be required] and that's totally understandable considering what's going on in New Zealand," he told the New Zealand Herald.

"Rugby players in New Zealand might have to prepare for that but that's just my opinion. You don't want New Zealand Rugby to go under, it would be a bad thing.

"So hopefully the rugby players around New Zealand can do their part."

Coles backed the decision not to start up an alternative competition.

"We were always keen to do something but we were never going to risk the lives of people and we weren't going to do it without the government giving it the okay. That was the main priority we spoke about." he added.

"After what's come out, I don't think we'll be getting together again too soon. Which is fair enough. At the end of the day it's just rugby and there's more to life at the moment to worry about, so we'll just take it as it comes."

The European Champions Cup semi-finals and final have been postponed by European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Matches at the same stages of the Challenge Cup have also been postponed.

The EPCR Board held a conference call on Monday to discuss the move and confirmed their decision on Tuesday.

They remain committed to completing the two competitions despite the COVID-19 outbreak, which has had a devastating impact on global sporting schedules.

But the 2020 finals in Marseille will not take place on May 22 and 23 as scheduled, while the semi-finals originally due to be held across May 1, 2 and 3 will also be moved.

The April quarter-finals had already been postponed and all three of the remaining rounds will be rescheduled in collaboration with the continent's major leagues.

"In making the decision, the board is abiding by the official directives and recommendations of the relevant authorities in its territories to restrict the COVID-19 pandemic," read the EPCR statement.

"In light of the earlier postponement of its quarter-final matches and with fixtures in Europe's professional league competitions currently suspended due to the public health crisis, EPCR believes it necessary to provide as much clarity as possible to all stakeholders regarding the knockout stages of its tournaments.

"To that end, EPCR is working with the leagues and unions to restructure a conclusion to its season as part of a wider rescheduling of the remainder of the season in Europe, with all contingencies underpinned by the requirement to protect the health and welfare of players, club staff, match officials, supporters and the wider rugby community.

"It is planned to reschedule the quarter-final and semi-final matches, as well as the Marseille finals, in line with fixtures in the professional league competitions, subject to advice from government and local authorities."

Fans will be entitled to a refund if they are unable to attend on the rearranged dates.

Plans for a domestic competition as part of a way to continue the Super Rugby season have been put on hold, Rugby Australia (RA) confirmed on Monday.

The Super Rugby campaign was suspended earlier this month due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to stricter travel measures.

A remodelled domestic competition was "in the final stages of approvals" with plans to start on April 3, but has been suspended until at least May 1. A further review will follow in mid-April.

"Rugby Australia and the Super Rugby teams have made the decision today to suspend the start of the revised competition on the latest guidance from the various government and health authorities and our chief medical officer," RA chief executive Raelene Castle said in a statement.

"Our priority is the health and welfare of our athletes and our wider rugby community as we continue to adapt to an unprecedented and constantly-evolving situation for our game and society.

"The decision to postpone the restart of the competition until May 1 is in line with the suspension of all community rugby in Australia and will give us the opportunity to review our position across the whole rugby landscape in a month's time.

"Our message to the entire rugby community today is to follow the advice of the government and health authorities. We must do whatever it takes to stop the spread of the virus. The spirit of the rugby community is a powerful force, and the only way out of this crisis is to work together and look out for each other.

"While this is having an unprecedented impact on our sport and many other sports, this is bigger than sport and that is why we will continue to put the health and welfare of our people above anything else."

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