Northland club rugby will not start on May 2 as the respective seasons face further postponement due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a decision made by the Northland Rugby Union, Northland Junior Council and Council of Unions last week, no Northland club competitions will start on May 2, which had originally been the start date for multiple competitions.
Prior to Covid-19's impact being felt in New Zealand, Northland's three senior competitions and an under-18 competition were all set to start last weekend, with junior and women's competitions set to start in early May.
As Covid-19's potency grew, New Zealand's club rugby competitions were rescheduled to start on April 18, before that was extended in Northland to May 2 on March 19.
However, this most recent postponement would leave clubs and teams across all competitions unsure going forward, as a new start date had not yet been confirmed.
Northland Rugby Union chief executive Cameron Bell said regular meetings between the union, the Northland Junior Council and Council of Unions would be held soon to confirm a new start date, informed by the Ministry of Health guidelines.
While he impressed his desire to see rugby return to the region, Bell said the health and wellbeing of Northland's rugby community was his top priority.
In the announcement released online yesterday, the union urged players to still register with their clubs.
Northland Junior Council chairwoman Kylie Harper said it would be a priority for her to ensure no player paid to register with a start date still to be confirmed. She also confirmed she would look into refunding those who had already paid if necessary.
With reference to the junior rugby season, Harper said a start date was yet to be confirmed. However, she said any games would be played at clubs' respective grounds rather than Kensington Park to reduce the potential spread of Covid-19.
On Monday, New Zealand Rugby announced all provincial representative rugby tournaments below the Mitre 10 Cup and Farah Palmer Cup would be cancelled.
This included the Mitre 10 Heartland Championship, Jock Hobbs Memorial National under-19 tournament and the TECT National Sevens tournament.
With Covid-19 cases on the rise in New Zealand, all club sport was still at risk of further postponement as the country's alert levels remained high.
Infectious diseases doctor and University of Otago epidemiologist Ayesha Verrall said it was likely New Zealand could be feeling the effects of Covid-19 over the next 12 months.
Sport Northland chief executive Brent Eastwood said he had checked in with the 15 codes in the Northland Sports Governance Forum late last week.
Those codes were: Northland Badminton, Northland Basketball, Bike Northland, Bowls Northland, Northland Cricket, Northern Football Federation, Netball Northern, North Golf Association, Whangārei Academy of Gymnastics, Squash Northland, Swimming Northland, Hockey Northland, Parafed Northland, Northland Rugby and Rugby League Northland.
Eastwood said it would take a couple of weeks for individual codes to take stock of their position, with particular reference to their finances.
"The overriding feeling that [the codes] have is that it's a little bit early to tell yet what their financial position will be," Eastwood said.
"At a national level, some [codes] seem to think that they are going to pull through okay, others are really hurting and that position, in a lot of cases, hasn't been clarified to the regional sports organisations."
However, Eastwood said the possibility of sports organisations going under could not be ruled out in New Zealand's fast-changing response to the Covid-19 threat.
"The longer a lockdown goes, the more likely it is that that's going to happen because organisations could run out of funds."
Eastwood said he could not comment on which codes were most at risk if the winter season did not go ahead.
He said Sport Northland would be giving the 15 codes a survey in the next few weeks to establish how best the regional body could give aid.
For the over 25 codes not included in the forum, Eastwood said they too would be contacted to see what help Sport Northland could give them.