New Zealand’s rugby governing body announced on Monday that competitive rugby will be returning next month. Like many other sports worldwide, rugby in New Zealand was hugely affected by Coronavirus
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) made the announcement on Monday after the government confirmed it would take its alert level down a notch from Thursday, with the rate of new coronavirus infections having slowed to a trickle.
New Zealand is the first major rugby nation to announce a restart to competition since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus shredded the global sports calendar in March.
When Will New Zealand Rugby League Set to Resume?
New Zealand’s Super Rugby Aotearoa will be starting on Saturday 13th June with a game between Highlanders and Chiefs.
NZR CEO Mark Robinson said the teams would be doing everything to ensure a safe resumption.
“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. I know our players are excited and I’m sure rugby fans will be as well.”
This all comes after the government moved to level two restrictions on Monday, allowing Super Rugby teams to return to full training.
Games will be played behind closed doors, without any fans, until when the health officials deem it otherwise. They will be broadcast live for fans to watch.
Sky CEO Martin Stewart welcomed the news Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa would soon be underway. The league fixtures have been shared.
“This is superb news for sports fans, our partners New Zealand Rugby and SANZAAR, our team at Sky, and the players themselves. We look forward to working together to produce and deliver these exciting matches for New Zealanders and our global audience.”
New Zealand Union says that they want to this well.
“Doing it well” will mean teams flying in and out on chartered planes on match days and playing at closed stadiums until authorities are willing to allow spectators back into venues.
Players will be checked daily for symptoms and asked to be even stricter on themselves than the country’s Level 2 alert regime that permits people to travel, eat at cafes and go to cinemas from Thursday.
“So we are holding them to a slightly higher standard than the general public,” NZR Acting Medical Advisor Dr Deb Robinson told reporters.
“Because we really, really want this competition to go well and they really want to play.”
How will Health of Players and staff be Ensured?
“Medical and operational staff across NZR, the Players’ Association, and the clubs have been working together to ensure we have detailed plans in place to protect the health and safety of everyone involved.” Said the Union
NZR Medical Manager Karen Rasmussen said they would not be leaving anything to chance.
“A major factor will be ensuring we control who enters the team bubbles and that we have necessary measures in place to mitigate against any risk to the health of all team members, as well as the health of their families and the wider community,” said Rasmussen.
“Team members will be asked to minimize their contacts outside of the team environment and their family bubbles.”
Author: Lewis Ssemujju
Lewis is a talkative, and budding writer with lots of bias to rugby and weirdly – SEO. He has a passion for philanthropy.