Rugby clubs around the country can start a three-stage approach to getting back on the grass with training potentially beginning later this month.
Rugby can resume with certain hygiene and distancing measures in place during COVID-19 Alert Level 2.
NZR's comprehensive guidelines incorporate necessary hygiene and distancing measures for all levels of rugby (Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa is excluded) will be released on Thursday, 14 May. The guidelines are subject to change in accordance with Ministry of Health’s updated advice.
“I know our rugby community is very keen to be back out on the grass, but we're being very cautious. We must get it right, and get it right the first time. The health and safety of our community is paramount.
We're hopeful the 10 person per gathering rule will be increased on 25 May, and when it is, organised training can begin. In the meantime, we encourage participants to register for rugby and start preparing to return to training and playing".
NZR’s three stages of preparation (dates subject to change)
Phase 1 Prepare to Train From 14 May
Rugby clubs work with their Provincial Unions to put procedures in place to ensure all necessary requirements can be met. These include hygiene protocols for people, venues and facilities, requirements for gatherings and contract tracing. No organised rugby training or match activity will occur during this phase.
Phase 2: Prepare to Play from 25 May to 19 June
Teams can resume pre-season training if Clubs have had health and safety plans approved by their local Provincial Union.
25 May to 29 May (12pm) training must follow the Government guidelines of no more than 10 people in a bubble.See 10 people Bubble concept here.
29 May (12pm) the government will allow gatherings of 100 or more.
13 June pre-season matches may be played.
Phase 3: Play from 20 June
20 June competition fixtures can begin.
Provincial Unions can set competition start dates to suit the needs of their own communities.
Prepare to Play period is mandatory to support player safety and well-being. It also allows Provincial Unions, clubs and schools time to establish safety plans in order to meet the required public health measures.
There is plenty of time for players, coaches and referees to sign up online for the season if they hadn’t already registered.
The phased approach would also apply to secondary school rugby and schools were also required to work within government guidelines for the education sector.
Further information for clubs is on newzealand.rugby/covid-19