(Reuters) – Argentina’s rugby union (UAR) has encouraged Jaguares players to take deals overseas amid an uncertain outlook for Super Rugby due to the coronavirus pandemic, centre Jeronimo de la Fuente told ESPN.

Super Rugby has been suspended since March and the future of this year’s competition remains in doubt due to travel curbs and border controls.

“The UAR … told us that if (a player) had an offer in the future, to take it to ease the economic issue a little,” De La Fuente said.

“They told us that if we had any possibility of emigrating that we take it and that the UAR was going to be predisposed to help us to be able to travel.

“Not that the UAR is going to let all its players go.

“It will try to retain a base so that professional rugby remains in place, competing, and basically so that there’s some competition within the country where they can take Jaguares, Ceibos or Argentina XV.”

Super Rugby’s governing body SANZAAR has yet to officially abandon the 2020 season, which was suspended after seven rounds.

However, the Tokyo-based Sunwolves, Japan’s sole team, confirmed their exit from the competition on Monday after a bid to play in Australia’s domestic “Super Rugby AU” tournament fell through. [L4N2DE0L1]

New Zealand will also welcome the return of rugby next week with a domestic competition featuring their five Super Rugby teams to generate much-needed revenue.

The Jaguares, Super Rugby’s only Argentine team and runners-up in the competition last year, have fewer opportunities on the home front where the sport remains mostly amateur.

UAR President Marcelo Rodriguez said he was “optimistic” about the Jaguares despite COVID-19’s challenges.

“We are sure that in one way or another Jaguares will be put in a competition that is economically and financially sustainable for the UAR,” he told ESPN.

(Writing by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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