Moving to Covid-19 alert level 3 next week will make little difference to the district's rugby players.

In the wake of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's announcement that the country will move to level 3 at 11.59pm next Monday, New Zealand Rugby issued a statement saying although it is a positive step, all club, schools and community rugby is still on hold.

Without the lockdown, this weekend would have seen the third round of the Baywide's 2020 season.

Instead, the coaches of Rangiuru and Te Puke Sports premier teams have their minds focused on other things.


Rangiuru coach Tanerau Latimer says, apart from setting up a group chat for players to post videos to encourage teammates to maintain fitness levels, thoughts are a long way from rugby.

''I think [Chiefs head coach] Warren Gatland summed it up best when he said let's just focus on getting through this first, because it's all unknown - just focus on this and rugby will come when rugby comes.''

Latimer hasn't seen it necessary to provide players with training programmes.

''We have left it up to each individual to take it upon themselves - we have seen a few videos come through and we hope that continues.''

He says that while he hopes there will be some sort of Baywide rugby competition in 2020, for him that is not a priority.

Rangiuru player-coach Tanerau Latimer.
Rangiuru player-coach Tanerau Latimer.

''I'm at home with my boys, helping them home school and it's a tough thing to do, so my focus is on my family and getting some work done on my orchard.''

Te Puke Sports' coach Matt Wallis says he is hopeful some kind of club competition will be possible but there is little point in speculating when or what form that will be.

He says it is difficult to keep players interested and motivated when there is so much uncertainty around whether there will be a competition.


''It's a tough one. We've got a trainer who has been putting a few things up on our Facebook page but there's no point in doing all this training unless the season does go ahead.

''A lot of our boys like to keep themselves fit anyway but rugby's not the main thing on their mind at the moment,'' he says.

Even under alert level 2, there are likely to be restrictions.

''As soon as it gets dropped down to level 2, I hope we will be able to get training, possibly without contact, so it will be more conditioning and ball skills.''

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New Zealand Rugby will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Health and Sport New Zealand on return to rugby protocols for the 2020 season.

''We are working through what rugby activity can occur under Alert Level 2 and we will provide more guidance on this as soon as possible,'' the statement read.

''For a return to rugby, we will take our lead from the Ministry of Health in determining when Covid-19 alert levels are once again at a safe level for sport.

''We thank the rugby community for following government advice to stay home and play their part to protect New Zealanders. Maintaining mental and physical fitness is encouraged as we continue to prepare for the return of rugby.''

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