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New Zealand Rugby announces details of new domestic competition

New Zealand Rugby announces details of new domestic competition
June 2, 2020

New Zealand Rugby has announced details of its new Super Rugby Aotearoa competition that will feature five teams:  the Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders.

With the New Zealand Government last month advising rugby and netball would be able to resume at Level 2 of the nation’s alert system, New Zealand Rugby last week revealed its five team domestic competition - to run over 10-weeks - featuring the Super Rugby franchises.

The new-look competition is due to kick off on 13th June when the Highlanders play the Chiefs at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, while the Blues will take on the Hurricanes at Eden Park in Auckland on the following day.

While all fixtures had been due to be held in closed stadia, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed today that a potential move to Level 1 of the nation’s lockdown regulations could see crowds able to attend.

Speaking on Newstalk ZB, Prime Minister Ardern said a likely move to Level 1 on 10th June.

With Super Rugby Aotearoa due to kick off three days later, Crusaders Chief Executive Colin Mansbridge later told Newstalk ZB that the original guidelines at that level had no restrictions on gatherings and plans were in place to have crowds for home games.

Mansbridge explained "in the current rules that were issued as we started going into lockdown, it didn't say anything about crowd limitation in level one. I think (the Prime Minister) has to clarify with cabinet what they are going to be.

"On the assumption that it's the same as what was issued previously, we've sort of done some planning as if we are going to have crowds.”

Mansbridge said changes would have to be made such as the ticketing process where every person seated at the game would need to provide their contact details – while special awareness will have to be considered.

He added "I think once the gates are open, you might find the first game or two, assuming there's not too much anxiety in the community, that people will want to turn up and maybe the will want to sit close next to people."

Prime Minister Ardern later advised that the New Zealand Government is currently working with stadia and ticketing agencies on a ‘COVID code’ designed to grant greater contract tracing at large events.

She explained “all gatherings of any size can occur. However, we’re working with ticketing agencies and large scale event organisers on a ‘COVID code’, through which contact details are collected so we can keep track of people at large gatherings in the event that we need to follow them up for contact tracing.

“For larger events it is a matter of preparedness for us. We might confident we’re in an environment where we do not have COVID in circulation. But if we have a situation where even one case develops, and it’s found that person had been in attendance at a large event, we always have to be prepared to be able to contact trace successfully.

“This is why we want to work alongside those who organise events, large sporting events, music events and work with ticketing agencies so they have information available for short periods of time to help us with contact tracing.”

Images: New Zealand Super Rugby team jerseys at the 2020 season launch (top) and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (below, courtesy of Shutterstock).

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29th May 2020 - New Zealand Cricket advises of planned job losses

18th May 2020 - Taranaki Rugby Union confirms financial restructuring

17th May 2020 - New Zealand budget includes $265 million for sport and recreation

11th May 2020 - Coronavirus and financial losses push New Zealand Rugby to lay off half its staff

8th May 2020 - New Zealand Government announces framework for return of professional rugby and netball competitions

8th May 2020 - World Rugby releases guidelines for top level matches to be held in closed stadiums

27th April 2020 - New Zealand Sports Minister advises of permissible activities under eased Coronavirus Alert

17th April 2020 - World Rugby announces US$100 million global relief package

12th March 2020 - 25 years of Chiefs Rugby to be celebrated at FMG Stadium Waikato

4th February 2020 - Schedule and venues announced for 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup

1st February 2020 - Reduction in match days prompts New Zealand’s Super Rugby teams to seek compensation

31st January 2020 - World Rugby looks to create global tournament for emerging unions as of 2021

24th January 2020 - Entertainment and safety key as Hamilton readies for Rugby Sevens party

14th January 2020 - Video shows renovation of Forsyth Barr Stadium’s playing surface

20th December 2019 - Taranaki Rugby relocates Mitre 10 Cup matches to Inglewood’s TET Stadium

29th November 2019 - Crusaders Super Rugby team to retain name following post-Christchurch mosque attack review

23rd November 2019 - Rugby World Cup drives enhanced global fan interest for the first time since 2007

6th November 2019 - FMG Stadium Waikato turf replacement project underway

29th October 2019 - Eden Park to stage NRL and Super Rugby double header

10th November 2017 - Highlanders’ Super Rugby fixtures deliver near $2 million boost for Dunedin

25th November 2011 - Chiefs and Council broker new Waikato Stadium deal

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