Another domino has fallen in the international sporting arena, with the postponement of the Kiwis clash with Tonga, scheduled for June.
It was a highly anticipated match — especially given the crowd support that Tonga has attracted to Auckland over last two years for tests against both Australia and New Zealand.
But the New Zealand Rugby League confirmed on Friday that the test has been put on hold, due to the Covid-19 International pandemic.
The Kiwis Ferns clash with Fetu Samoa has also been put on ice.
The intention is for the matches to be staged later in the year, but that may be difficult with the squeeze on fixtures.
Assuming the NRL season grounds to a halt at some stage in the next few weeks, it is likely to spill into October and possibly November once it eventually re-starts.
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The NRL is also committed to playing State of Origin, which could happen after the NRL grand final, and could severely compromise the international window.
The NZRL said they were in discussions with the APRLC (Asia Pacific Rugby League Confederation) regarding potential postponement options and will continue to liaise with industry bodies, government agencies and playing groups to determine the best course of action into the future.
NZRL CEO Greg Peters said the organisation had no choice but to postpone the matches.
"With the recent announcement on mass gatherings and the unpredictability of this pandemic, the safety and well-being of our players, staff and supporters remain a priority.
"We are also very conscious of the current demand on some of our players due to the travel restrictions in place which we will be taking into full consideration going forward.
"Even if restrictions were to be lifted before the event date, it still is not feasible to undertake the work required now to deliver matches in June amid the current uncertainty."
"The best-case scenario is our calendar is postponed, depending on what the NRL season looks like the back end of the year, but of course, we cannot guarantee anything at this stage."
"We are in unfamiliar and unknown territory; collectively, we are all feeling the widespread impact of this pandemic but rest assured, we will be exploring every possible option.