Restrictions cast doubt over sporting events in South

If restrictions last into the weekend, the Highlanders may play without a crowd this weekend....
If restrictions last into the weekend, the Highlanders may play without a crowd this weekend. Photo: Getty Images
There is doubt as to whether crowds will be able to attend this weekend's southern sporting events.

Both the Highlanders and Southern Steel were scheduled to play in Dunedin on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

However, whether that will be in front of fans is now unclear following a return to Covid-19 Alert Level 2, set to be put in place at noon today and remain at least until midnight on Friday.

Alert Level 2 restricts gatherings of over 100 people.

While that would impact the Highlanders' Super Rugby Aotearoa match against the Hurricanes if the restriction remains in place, the weekend's other match, between the Blues and Crusaders in Auckland may not be played at all as Auckland moves to Alert Level 3.

New Zealand Rugby said it was assessing the situation in a brief statement last night.

"NZR is currently assessing the impact on rugby following the Government announcement that Auckland will tomorrow move to Covid-19 Level 3 and the rest of the country to Level 2.

"NZR is in close and constant dialogue with Government and a further update will be given tomorrow."

Meanwhile the Steel has an extra day before its game against the Mainland Tactix at the Edgar Centre.

Friday's ANZ Premiership match between the Northern Stars and Northern Mystics, to be played in Auckland, would seem in doubt of being played.

Meanwhile the Mystics are also set to host the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic on Saturday.

Today's Winter Games Obsidian opening at Cardrona will also be closed to fans.

Staff were working to ensure a safe event bubble for competitors.

No community sport will be possible under Alert Level 3, however it is possible for groups up to 100 under Alert Level 2.


Rugby Southland marketing co-ordinator Jack King said this morning that plans for the Galbraith Shield and other rugby finals in Southland at the weekend were still going ahead.

‘‘We’re waiting on direction from New Zealand Rugby.’’

As soon as the association was given direction, it would let the clubs and public know, he said.

‘‘We’re preparing that we can do it until we hear differently."

The Invercargill Netball Centre was also waiting on direction from its national body about whether the Saturday netball competition would go ahead this weekend.

Invercargill Netball Centre manager Hayley Sanford said Netball New Zealand were holding a meeting this morning.

‘‘We may know by lunchtime, but we’re not sure.’’


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