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NZ lockdown puts more doubt on North vs South match

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24th August, 2020
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New Zealand Rugby’s already delayed North-South match faced another setback, with the latest COVID-19 restrictions meaning the September 5 fixture would have to be played without fans in attendance.

New Zealand’s government on Monday extended a coronavirus lockdown in Auckland until Sunday, while the entire country will remain under social distancing restrictions until at least September 6.

The social distancing rules mean the game can go ahead, but gatherings are limited to 100 people at most.

A NZR spokesman said they were working through the government’s decision and should be able to make an announcement on the fixture on Tuesday.

The match, between composite sides representing the country’s two main islands, had been originally scheduled for August 29 at Auckland’s Eden Park, but was postponed last week by NZR because of the lockdown.

It was unlikely the game could be pushed back any further than September 5, NZR’s head of professional rugby Chris Lendrum said last week.

He added that it could cost NZR upwards of $NZ1 million ($A910,000) if the game was not played.

Wellington Regional Stadium was earlier placed on standby as an alternate venue for the game.

The relaxation of Auckland’s lockdown from Sunday, however, should allow players to enter or exit the city, allowing teams to assemble for training if the game goes ahead.

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