Poor Nic Groom may struggle to live this one down!
COVID-19 restrictions have disrupted New Zealand’s national rugby and netball competitions, underlining how the health crisis could yet affect trans-Tasman fixtures.
New Zealand Rugby says it wants to complete the domestic Super Rugby Aotearoa competition by playing the final two games this weekend but only if the government lifts coronavirus restrictions imposed on Wednesday.
Netball New Zealand has cancelled the final round of its ANZ Premiership in response to new infections, with all teams awarded two points for a draw this weekend.
That decision was made easier because the draw for the ANZ Premiership finals series, which is slated to start on August 23, had already been locked in.
But the action also reflects NZ’s national approach to curbing community transmission, which had allowed crowds to flock to sporting fixtures.
The Wallabies are expected to enter a hub in New Zealand to get the Rugby Championship rolling, but that could potentially be affected if the current outbreak gets out of control.
Netball Australia and Netball New Zealand had planned on staging a Constellation Cup series after their respective domestic seasons.
Cricket Australia is yet to sign off on men’s and women’s tours of New Zealand in the second half of 2020-21, but New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White indicated earlier this week that both trips had been agreed on.
The New Zealand government imposed a lockdown on Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, and restrictions on the rest of the country on Tuesday.
The restrictions will be reviewed on Friday.
“Decisions like these are never easy,” Netball New Zealand chief executive Jennie Wyllie said.
“Now is the time for us to play our part in keeping the country safe and we will be reviewing future decisions over the coming days.”
The Otago Highlanders are due to host the Wellington Hurricanes in Dunedin on Saturday before the Auckland Blues host the Canterbury Crusaders at a sold-out Eden Park on Sunday.
“It is possible that we could have the game in Dunedin but not a game in Auckland,” New Zealand Rugby’s head of professional rugby Chris Lendrum said.
“We just have to wait until we get the decision from the government.
“We have been in lock step with them all the way through COVID and we trust their advice and will follow it.
“We still have a significant amount of runway available before any possible All Blacks Tests are played.”