The threat of a coronavirus outbreak has forced the cancellation of all major winter sporting codes in Horowhenua for at least the next month - possibly the entire season.

The rule of thumb across all codes seems to be that if a sport involved human-to-human contact then its governing body was heeding Ministry of Health advice and stopping all competition.

All netball, rugby, football, hockey and rugby league at all age levels has been suspended until further notice, just as their respective seasons were due to start.

Netball Horowhenua held a grading day last week and was due to have its regular competition start this weekend.

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Netball Horowhenua started their season with a series of grading games last weekend. The competition was due to start this weekend.
Netball Horowhenua started their season with a series of grading games last weekend. The competition was due to start this weekend.

Netball Horowhenua president Ruth Eagle said all competition games had now been cancelled until May 2, when the situation would be reviewed.

"It's sad because some teams have been training really hard. But we would encourage players to keep training to be ready when the competition does start up again," she said.

Netball Horowhenua was looking forward to rolling out a Future Ferns initiative for young players this season, too, after holding a coaching workshop with netball great Irene Van Dyk at Donnelly Park last week, she said.

Indoor netball in Levin held at the Tiro Tiro Road Stadium has called time on its competition, too.

The Horowhenua-Kāpiti senior rugby competition was due to kick off this weekend but won't go ahead after a directive from the New Zealand Rugby Union earlier in the week putting a halt to all domestic rugby.

Horowhenua rugby boss Corey Kennett said NZRU had postponed all club and community rugby until Saturday April 18, although was allowing non-contact training activities to continue in the short term.

Irene Van Dyk with Horowhenua Netball committee member Candace Vazey.
Irene Van Dyk with Horowhenua Netball committee member Candace Vazey.

Kennett said it the cancellation would have an effect on HKRU and they would work closely with players, employees and sponsors to share information.

But Kennett said the ripple would be felt more intensely at a national level were many players were paid a percentage from revenue coming from national and international competitions.

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All he could do was concentrate on liaising with HKRU staff and sponsors. The well-being of players, coaches, referees, volunteers, supporters and the wider community was a priority, he said.

"I don't know whether you see things differently as you get older, but you realise that sometimes there are more important things than rugby," he said.

Levin Football Association president Murray Forward said he had a directive this week come from their governing body that football across all age levels was cancelled until May 2.

But the blanket cancellations didn't mean athletes had to put their skills into hibernation. Many codes were encouraging people to keep up skill-based and non-contact training in readiness for when competitions return.

Former Silver Fern Irene Van Dyk let some aspiring young players join in as she demonstrate coaching drills at Donnelly Park in Levin last week.
Former Silver Fern Irene Van Dyk let some aspiring young players join in as she demonstrate coaching drills at Donnelly Park in Levin last week.

Any team-based sporting activity was encouraged to comply with Ministry of Health guidelines.

That included minimising person-to-person contact and maintaining hygiene standards including not sharing drink bottles, washing hands and regularly cleaning equipment.