Northland rugby's application for a travel exemption to move the Taniwha team to Tauranga if Covid restrictions prevent the side from playing at home has been approved.
To prepare for a possible move, the players and team management were tested for Covid on Pohe Island yesterday while waiting for government announcement on level changes and New Zealand Rugby (NZR) on possible playing scenarios.
Northland Rugby Union chief executive Cameron Bell said his officials were working on contingency planning pending an update of a positive Covid case in Whangārei.
"If Whangārei goes to level 3 it means no rugby can be played. We move the team to the north or south. New Zealand Rugby has moved Waikato to Tauranga so that's an option for us."
Northland are scheduled to play Otago at Semenoff Stadium in Whangarei on October 15 but that's up in the air, especially after confirmation of a positive Covid case in the region.
Bell said NZR has generously offered to fund relocation costs— within agreed levels— without which Northland simply could not have afforded to do and would have been faced with pulling out of the competition.
Moving a team, he said, cost about $35,000 in transport, accommodation, meals, and other expenses.
Bell said every player or member of management has the option to not move - without any repercussions - and that relocation could potentially take them away for seven weeks.
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"Every time we get a Covid blimp like this, it creates uncertainty and a huge amount of additional work, but I am very proud of the way the team and players have responded so positively to this."
Northland Rugby remained positive of the Taniwha playing at home next week but it would be irresponsible if it didn't plan for a level change, he said.
"Yet again this reinforces the message that we need to get Northland vaccinated."
Bell said player welfare was a massive consideration.
Northland beat Waikato in their last home game on October 1.
Auckland, Counties Manukau and North Harbour have pulled out of the NPC after their third travel exemption was rejected, despite all players being fully vaccinated and agreeing to regular testing.
NZR is considering bailing them out.