New Zealand Rugby has confirmed the Auckland-based NPC teams will not be able to return to competitive rugby in 2021, following Monday's Government announcement that the Auckland region will continue to operate under current Covid-19 alert Level 3 restrictions for the next two weeks.
This also includes confirmation that the proposed Super City series which had been contemplated as an alternative means of playing meaningful rugby for North Harbour, Auckland and Counties Manukau, will not go ahead.
NZR general manager of community rugby Steve Lancaster said the ongoing inability of teams to train together meant there was not enough preparation time for players to safely return to full contact rugby in 2021.
"It is disappointing we couldn't put up a Super City Series for Auckland, North Harbour and Counties Manukau, while it would have been great to provide some meaningful rugby for the region it wasn't feasible with the current Alert Level restrictions in place for the next two weeks.
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"We needed players to be able to prepare for return to play this week to kick off the series so it could be completed before the end of November. We have reached this decision in consultation with the three affected teams and while we are all incredibly frustrated, we are looking forward to what we hope will be a more positive season for them in 2022."
The NPC is building toward a conclusion with the remaining 11 provincial unions vying for a place in the semifinals and finals, which will be played on the weekend's of November 13 and 20.