New Zealand Rugby's highly-anticipated North versus South fixture could be moved from Auckland to Wellington, according to fresh comments by head of professional rugby Chris Lendrum.

And, in another blow, the start of the women's provincial Farah Palmer Cup has been delayed.

As it stands, Auckland will remain in alert Level 3 until midnight Wednesday, August 26; three days before the scheduled inter-Island match at Eden Park.

In the professional world, three days is not nearly enough for new-look teams to assemble, train and prepare and Lendrum says a decision will have to be made in the coming five days.


"Friday is probably a bit of a drop-dead for us, we're going to have to make some calls by then," Lendrum told Newstalk ZB's Martin Devlin.

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However, he is confident his team can roll with whatever outcome they decide on, including a possible shift to Wellington's Sky Stadium.

"It's mind-blowing actually, when you sit down and think about all of the things that go into organising a match but we've got fantastic organisational people across rugby in New Zealand and we're used to doing things quickly.

"Yes it's a possibility that it goes to Wellington or elsewhere, absolutely.

"Clearly, all we know at the moment is that the Auckland region is at Level 3 which doesn't allow is to train or play rugby until probably the 26th and that's only three days before kickoff; so if we were to remain at alert Level 3 in Auckland beyond that date then clearly we couldn't play the game."

However, the possibility of moving the match out of Auckland leaves questions as to whether players and support staff within New Zealand's largest city would be excluded from taking part.

"We have players who will play in that game who are currently residing in Auckland - Blues players - and we've got All Blacks management who will pick up management duties for those teams during the week as well, so we've got to figure out how to get those people out of Auckland and we've got to do that in conjunction with the government."

Blues players like Hoskins Sotutu could find it difficult to leave the region if the game is relocated to Wellington or another location. Photo / Photosport
Blues players like Hoskins Sotutu could find it difficult to leave the region if the game is relocated to Wellington or another location. Photo / Photosport

Lendrum was also quick to assure rugby fans that whatever decision was made, the safety of all those involved - as well as fans - was the number one priority.


It was also revealed this afternoon that the opening two rounds of the Farah Palmer Cup will not go ahead as scheduled.

The north pool of the premier women's competition was due to kick off next Saturday, with North Harbour hosting Waikato, Counties Manukau playing Bay of Plenty and Northland hosting Taranaki.

However, due to the current restrictions, that has been changed.

"With Auckland-based teams unable to train or host matches for the next 12 days due to Level 3 restrictions, the decision has been made not to start the competition next weekend," NZR Head of Women's Rugby Cate Sexton said.

"We'll now discuss with provincial unions and the Players Association around the different options for revising the draw."