Full crowds will be allowed at rugby games in New Zealand from this weekend. It will be the new domestic tournament (Super Rugby Aotearoa) after the country has now lifted all coronavirus restrictions.
The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Aherne said that the country will move level 1 restrictions from midnight after the country reported no new coronavirus cases for 17 days. New Zealand and Australia have both set up domestic tournaments featuring Super Rugby sides. The Highlanders will play the Chiefs on Saturday evening in Dunedin.
There will be no restrictions on crowd size for the first weekend of games. Games will takes place at Otago Regional Stadium on Saturday in Dunedin and Eden Park on Sunday. In addition, Beauden Barrett is expected to make his debut for the Auckland Blues. In fact a side who Dan Carter signed for earlier last week. Barrett will come up against his former team the Wellington Hurricanes which he spent from 2011 to 2019 with them. Barrett has played over 80 times for New Zealand.
In other rugby news RTE Sport report that the Pro14 is expected to be completed behind closed doors. Ulster rugby announced details on their website confirming this. They said they have submitted plans to the NI Executive for a phased return to training at the end of June. The view of these plans are to enable the squad to train together. This is before they participate in closed doors matches at the Aviva Stadium which have been put forward by the IRFU. These games are set to start on the weekend of August 22nd.
Furthermore, Ulster have also announced details regarding season ticket holders and those who bought tickets for Pro14 fixtures. They said, “Season Ticket holders will be entitled to claim an account credit of 20% of the value of their Season Ticket whilst purchasers of tickets to individual matches will be able to claim a full refund. Game Pass holders – Ulster Rugby’s Half Season Ticket – will be entitled to claim a 50% account credit. All claims must be made to the club by Tuesday 30 June”.
John Petrie CEO of Ulster Rugby said, “We would also like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our supporters – and in particular our dedicated Season Ticket holders – who have shown great patience and understanding as we continue to work through what is in no doubt the most difficult situation we are likely to face as an organisation. It is heartening to see how they have chosen to stand up and support us at this time.”