NZ Rugby pursuing North vs South contingency

NZ Rugby has confirmed it is looking at Wellington as an alternate venue for next weekend’s North vs South match originally scheduled for Auckland.

A Covid-19 outbreak in Auckland has forced the New Zealand government to put the city under level 3 lockdown. The lockdown led to the cancellation of last weekend’s final Super Rugby Aotearoa match between the Blues and Crusaders.

The New Zealand government has announced that the lockdown will remain in place until 26 August, three days before the North vs South match is scheduled to take place in Auckland.

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With this in mind, NZ Rugby general manager Chris Lendrum said contingency plans were being made to hold the match in Wellington on the same day.

‘New Zealand Rugby is currently working through the government’s normal exemption process to seek approval for the Auckland-based players and management to assemble in Wellington from next Monday,’ Lendrum said.

‘With Auckland at alert level 3 until midnight on Wednesday, 26 August, the squads will now assemble in Wellington to prepare for the match.’

The squads for the match will be announced on Tuesday. Brad Mooar and Greg Feek will coach the South team, while John Plumtree and Scott McLeod will take charge of the North team.

Teams will be selected on the basis that the players must represent the island where they earned their first-class cap, instead of where they first played club rugby.

A final decision on the status of the match will be made after government’s review of the Covid-19 status on Friday. Fans will not be able to attend the match under lockdown level 2.

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