No rugby for Counties Manukau region during level 3 lockdown

The Government’s decision on Friday night to extend the level 3 lockdown in Auckland until Thursday, August 27 means all rugby in Counties Manukau has been called off until further notice.

While rugby is able to be played under level 2 – a level that remains in place for the rest of the country – the current restrictions in Auckland have put paid to any hopes of rugby going ahead in the region this weekend.

Earlier in the week, the Counties Manukau Rugby Football Union confirmed this weekend’s junior club fixtures and secondary schools matches would be called off.

But after initially hoping that senior club rugby could go ahead if the COVID restrictions were eased, the Government decision on Friday night to stick with a level 3 lockdown has ruled out the prospect of any rugby taking place at all.

A decision on what the latest news means for the respective draws and competitions will be made early next week after consultation with clubs and schools.

“We are obviously disappointed but the safety of our community is absolutely the No 1 priority here,” CMRFU CEO Aaron Lawton said.

“The Government has made this decision in the best interests of everyone in Auckland and we will certainly respect it.

“We are probably most disappointed for our under-21s players from Patumahoe and Manurewa who were due to play their final tomorrow. But we’ll re-group with our clubs and schools next week and determine the next steps forward.”

The Government call to extend level 3 in Auckland for a further 12 days also means tomorrow’s pre-season fixture between the Counties Power Heat and Waikato, set to be played at Navigation Homes Stadium, has been called off.

“The Farah Palmer Cup competition is scheduled to start next weekend and we are supposed to be hosting Bay of Plenty in Pukekohe,” Lawton said.

“We’ve already started discussions with New Zealand Rugby about what this means for that competition and also the Mitre 10 Cup which is due to start on September 12.

“Like everyone, the situation is developing pretty quickly but we expect to have further discussions with NZR on Monday and we’ll certainly let our rugby community know as soon as we have more information to share.”