Having become the first nation to declare itself COVID19 free, New Zealand has stated that life can go back to normal which also means that fans will be allowed back into the stadium to watch rugby.
None more excited about this news than the rugby sport which is arguably the biggest sport in the country as they are looking forward to playing in front of their fans after the long last 2 months.
This comes right at the time when Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa which is a 10-week tournament that sees the Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders, and Highlanders – playing each other home and away, there will be two matches every weekend at 7.05 pm on Saturdays and 3.35 pm on Sundays
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has confirmed there will be no limit on crowd numbers when the Highlanders play the Chiefs at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday 13 June and the Blues host the Hurricanes at Eden Park the following day, Sunday 14 June.
The welcome news for rugby fans comes after the Government confirmed New Zealand will move to Alert Level 1 at midnight which means lifting all restrictions on mass gatherings including at stadiums.
NZR Chief Executive Mark Robinson said the Government announcement was fantastic news for rugby.
What are the different New Zealand Rugby Teams saying about this development?
“It is a testament to all New Zealanders that we are in a position to lift restrictions on mass gatherings and it’s a massive boost for Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa,” he said.
“We’re incredibly proud, and grateful, to be the first professional sports competition in the world to be in a position to have our teams play in front of their fans again. It’s going to be a very special and unique competition and it’s fitting that New Zealanders now have a chance to be part of it.”
NZR Head of Professional Rugby Chris Lendrum said the move to Level 1 and the return of crowds meant kick-off times would now change for the competition – now 7.05 pm for Saturday games and 3.35 pm for Sunday games.
“With the return of community sport, we wanted to give our many fans involved in Saturday sport time to finish up their games, get ready to head out, and then across town to our venues. We’re excited to be able to provide some daytime Sunday rugby in 2020.
“With the change to Level 1, our teams can now prepare normally for matches, rather than asking them to fly in and out on match day.”
NZR and all five Investec Super Rugby clubs would be encouraging fans to use the QR codes displayed at match venues to enable effective contact tracing, Lendrum said.
Highlanders Chief Executive Roger Clark said the club was “buzzing” at the opportunity to host the first professional rugby crowd since the Covid-19 global pandemic shut down the sporting world.
“The world will be watching, and we will be ready to put on a show. Our players, coaches, and staff have been working overtime to get Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa ready, and to now be able to share the competition with our members and our fans will be a very special occasion.”
Blues Chief Executive Andrew Hore said the idea of family, friends, and fans in the Eden Park stands on a Sunday afternoon watching rugby had never felt better.
“This is a great boost for the franchise and the region as a whole. It’s been a tough time for everyone over the past few months, so to be able to provide some rugby, some entertainment at a world-class level, and a day out for sports fans and families will be magic.”
Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is an avid Sports and Tech enthusiast. He loves to keep up to date with all the latest information and research on some of the most compelling stories.