Change means intense training set to start soon

Delta workers Simon Smaill (left) and Will Young  get ready to put in the goalposts for the...
Delta workers Simon Smaill (left) and Will Young get ready to put in the goalposts for the football field at the Caledonian Ground yesterday. PHOTO: CHRISTINE O'CONNOR
Community sport took another step forward yesterday, but there is some water to flow under the bridge yet before games are played.

With the lifting of the restrictions relating to gatherings increasing from 10 to 100, training will be able to begin with some sense of intensity from Friday afternoon.

Games can seemingly be played under the limit of 100 people in a gathering but there will be tight controls.

Teams have only been able to train in groups of 10, which has been limiting most sides to just fitness and not much team play.

Most sports had already set out their return-to-play programmes, so yesterday's announcement will not have much impact.

But going to gatherings of 100 does allow more flexibility for teams and gives facilities more options when hosting sports.

Rugby in Dunedin is due to return on July 4 and not much is expected to change there. Junior rugby and school rugby may return earlier, with a possible date of June 20 mentioned, but nothing has been confirmed and schools will have to be consulted.

A collision sport such as rugby needs more time for pre-season training to get players in physical shape. The national union also wants players to have two pre-season games to be ready when the real competition starts.

Football has been eyeing a return to play on June 13 and is expected to release more information shortly.

Netball laid out its return-to-play programme last week and training can begin on Friday, with competitions only set to begin on or after June 19.

Netball is Dunedin is not expected to start until July for senior players anyway as tertiary students are away on holiday.

Other sports, such as basketball, are waiting for more details from Sport New Zealand before making decisions on starting games.

Venues may be harder to police in regards to the numbers at a gathering and it is recommended contact tracing be carried out.

Last week, it was believed contact tracing was not going to be done at sporting fixtures, but this may change. Many sports are recommending players, officials and supporters get the contact tracing app on their phones or get it printed out to make it easier.

Signs will be put at sport fields in Dunedin to remind spectators and players to make sure their attendance has been recorded.

The limit may mean clubs could be able to open their clubrooms for crowds of up to 100, although most facilities house many more than that.

Workers yesterday started the task of putting up posts and looking at marking fields for the return to sport.

Most should be up and ready to go by Friday when proper team training can get under way.

Professional sport remains on track — Super Rugby, the ANZ Premiership and the NBL are all set to begin next month. As they are seen as work places they are not subject to the same gathering restrictions.


 

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