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All rugby training has been suspended across the country until April 18.
New Zealand Rugby yesterday said all training at the community level has been ruled out to April 18 at the earliest because of Covid-19.
This was effective immediately and covered all levels of the community game.
Community rugby games in New Zealand had been banned last week until April 18 but NZR did not rule out non-contact training activities which could continue with sensible hygiene protocols observed. Training was set to start on April 13.
But more stringent rules were announced yesterday with the warning that the April 18 date may be extended.
The Otago union was set to announce a ban on all forms of training for all teams until April 18 but that was superceded by the announcement by the national body yesterday.
Otago Rugby Football Union general manager Richard Kinley said the move was the right decision in order to keep the Otago rugby community safe.
The restrictions include the playing of games, tournaments, training and face-to-face rugby education. There were various courses for coaches set to go in the next few weeks but they were no longer taking place.
There was a fear by some that players not training would lead to a general disinterest in the sport and they would be lost to the sport when it became times to start up again.
Kinley said union staff would meet tomorrow to discuss ways to keep the players connected with the game until April 18.
Most other codes have banned community sports until May 2.