Rebels head to Canberra to escape virus

The Rebels will head to Canberra on Friday in a bid to protect player safety amidst virus outbreak

The Melbourne Rebels will relocate to Canberra from this coming Friday in a bid to ensure player safety as they step up preparations for the Super Rugby AU season amidst a COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria.

Several cases of the virus have been reported across Melbourne in recent days, leading to fears of a second wave of infection.

NRL side Melbourne Storm have already set-up a short-term home in Sydney, while it was revealed on Wednesday that AFL teams Geelong and Collingwood will base out of a hub in Perth for around 21 days.

The Rebels do not kick off their Super Rugby AU campaign against the Brumbies until July 4, but have decided to head to the national capital more than a week before the game.

"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," Rebels CEO Baden Stephenson said in a statement.

"At the same time, we will do all that we can to ensure the successful delivery of the Super Rugby AU competition."

The Rebels players and staff all returned negative tests for COVID-19 on Monday and will be tested again on Thursday before leaving for Canberra.

A decision about where they will be based following the Brumbies match will be determined "in due course".

"This competition was always going to throw up some curve balls," Stephenson said. "The teams that have the ability to adjust on the run will be successful.

"We aren't changing our performance expectations at all. We have a very tight team and are looking forward to preparing and spending some time together on the road."