COVID-19 Update | 17 August | Return of lockdown forces postponement of key fixtures

Rugby within the Counties Manukau region will go on hold after the Government announced a return to a Level-4 lockdown from 11:59pm on Tuesday night following a case of COVID-19 in the community.

Under Level-4, no rugby activity can take place, including training sessions.

The news is a blow for a number of Counties Manukau representative teams, while this Friday and Saturday’s respective boys’ and girls’ secondary school finals will also be postponed.

On Tuesday evening, the Government confirmed the country would return to a Level-4 lockdown for at least three days, while in Auckland and the Coromandel the lockdown would be for a minimum of seven days.

In addition to the postponement of secondary school finals, the news means this weekend’s representative matches will also go on hold.

The Bayleys B’s had originally been scheduled to open their representative campaign on Saturday against Taranaki in New Plymouth, while the Counties Manukau U-19s were due to play North Harbour.

However, with Auckland expected to be in Level-4 until at least Wednesday, August 25, those matches will no longer go ahead. A decision on whether they will be cancelled or rescheduled will be confirmed in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the move back into lockdown has also put the PIC Steelers and Counties Power Heat’s respective provincial campaigns up in the air.

The PIC Steelers were due to fly to Nelson on Saturday for Sunday’s third round NPC fixture against Tasman while the Counties Power Heat were scheduled to take on Waikato in Hamilton on Saturday.

“We are waiting for confirmation from New Zealand Rugby about what the Government’s announcement means for the respective FPC and NPC competitions,” CMRFU CEO Aaron Lawton said.

“We are expecting an update in the next 24 hours and will look to notify our rugby community as soon as we have anything official to report.

“At this point in time, we are anticipating both our teams will have to remain in Auckland this weekend and that our respective matches will be postponed but nothing will be officially confirmed until we get some direction from NZR on Wednesday.”