Junior sport fixtures have been postponed across Whanganui this weekend due to the movement to alert Level 2 earlier in the week.

Concerns around social distancing and controlling mass gatherings has led to junior rugby and football being called off, with netball postponing all competitions' fixtures this weekend.

Whanganui sporting codes are struggling to safely hold games under the level 2 conditions as the vast majority of fixtures take place at large venues like Springvale Park, Laird Park and Wembley Park.

Wanganui Rugby chief executive Bridget Belsham said getting notified about the move to level 2 mid-week left them on the backfoot. They left the decision till Friday morning to see if they could make it work for this weekend, eventually deciding it was too difficult to pull off in such a short amount of time.


"Any decision we make that impacts children's participation in sport is always a difficult decision. At the moment we just thought it was absolutely impossible with the venues we have.

"We use Springvale Park and to manage that with contact tracing, physical distancing and with the amount of people that watch juniors, it's just impossible."

Any junior rugby under level 2 would be very difficult to organise and manage due to the sheer numbers involved with junior rugby.

"If you have two teams of 22 plus their coaches, you're over 50 already. Plus the potential of parents, there's your 100."

Senior club rugby will continue to go ahead under level 2 as it's easier to manage and have greater venues at their disposal.

General manager of Netball Whanganui Kate Osbourne echoed similar thoughts, saying controlling the number of people at Laird Park at any one time would be very difficult.

"Even without spectators, with all the teams we will have playing at one time, we will be well over 100 people.

"The only way we would be able to do it is to reduce the number of people at one time at Laird Park and to spread out games more over the day."


Only three weeks into the netball season, Osbourne said it was frustrating to have it taken away so quickly.

"We were just getting into in terms of our round-robin competition. It's extremely frustrated. It would have been nice to get a bit further along but I guess we have to be grateful we got some netball in while we could."

Central Football has cancelled all junior fixtures for the weekend also, giving time to review venues and draws to ensure football can be played safely. A decision will be made based on what alert level the country is in.