COVID-19 Update | 24 August | Junior Club Rugby Cancelled

Following news on Monday that Auckland will remain in COVID Alert Level 4 for at least another week, a decision has been made to cancel all remaining junior club rugby in the Counties Manukau region.

Prior to the return of COVID-19 in the community, the junior club season had been scheduled to finish this weekend.

Initially, it was hoped if the lockdown in Auckland was brief, that junior rugby could start up again in the coming weeks.

However, in light of the Government decision to extend the lockdown this week and the fact community rugby can only go ahead under Alert Level 2, albeit on the proviso that strict protocols must be followed, a decision has been made to cancel the final two weeks of the season.

“We are really disappointed that it’s come to this,” Counties Manukau Rugby Football Union CEO Aaron Lawton said.

“We were very keen to adopt a wait-and-see approach before making this decision. But, as we’ve said all along, the health and safety of our rugby community is paramount and we felt, given the uncertainty, it was better to make a definitive call now.

“In addition to the above concerns, we also had to weigh up the likely availability of fields with summer sport around the corner and how long it would have taken to get them up to scratch once the lockdown lifts before rugby could go ahead again.”

Lawton said the decision had been made after consultation with the CMRFU Junior Management Board Executive Committee who felt cancelling the final two weeks of the season was the right course of action.

“All going well, we would still like to have a celebration of club rugby at one of the PIC Steelers’ NPC games later in the season if we are in a position to have crowds again,” he added.

“That could include holding some one-off junior matches on the main field at Navigation Homes Stadium and we will certainly be sure to keep our clubs updated as more information comes to light.”

Lawton said there was still a desire for the Counties Manukau Secondary Schools finals to go ahead in due course once the lockdown restrictions had hopefully lifted. But reiterated that decision could be some time away.