NZ Super Rugby teams to restart on June 13

The Highlanders will host the Chiefs when NZ Super Rugby teams start a domestic comp on June 13

New Zealand has become the first major rugby nation to announce competition resumption from the coronavirus shutdown, with its five Super Rugby teams to play each other over 10 weeks from June 13.

New Zealand Rugby announced the move after the government confirmed on Monday that the country's virus restrictions would drop to level 2 from Thursday.

"The thought of five world-class Kiwi teams battling it out in 20 matches over 10 weeks should put a smile back on the faces of many people," NZR CEO Mark Robinson said in a statement.

"I know our players are excited and I'm sure rugby fans will be as well."

The matches, which will be played at closed stadiums until further government advice.

In the opening weekend, the Highlanders will host the Chiefs in Dunedin, with the Blues at home in Auckland to the Hurricanes.

Defending Super Rugby champions the Crusaders will have a bye in the first week.

Super Rugby, which also includes teams from Australia, South Africa, Argentina and Japan, was suspended in March after seven rounds of the season when travel restrictions and border controls aimed at containing COVID-19 made the competition untenable.

New Zealand's domestic competition has been endorsed by governing body SANZAAR, which includes partner unions Australia, South Africa and Argentina. The results in the competition will have no bearing on the wider Super Rugby competition.

NZR also said the country's annual provincial competition, the Mitre 10 Cup, would start with a full 14-team championship from September 11.