Rugby-NZR move North-South game to Wellington due to COVID-19 restrictions

New Zealand Rugby said on Wednesday the delayed North-South match on Sept. 5 has been moved to Wellington from Auckland due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The match was originally scheduled for Aug. 29 at Eden Park but was pushed back by a week when the government imposed a lockdown in Auckland and social distancing measures for the rest of the country after a new outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

Wellington Regional Stadium had been listed as an alternative venue for the match between composite sides representing the country’s two main islands if the game could not take place in Auckland.

The restrictions mean no fans will be able to attend.

“We’re delighted that the match can go ahead in Wellington, but obviously it’s a shame that it’ll have to be played without fans in the stands,” NZR’s head of professional rugby Chris Lendrum said in a statement.

“That said, we’re fully supportive and understanding of the government’s health and safety recommendations regarding COVID-19.”

The government has extended the lockdown in Auckland until Sunday and the restrictions on crowd sizes for the entire country until at least Sept. 6.

Lendrum said last week it could cost NZR upwards of NZ$1 million ($655,800) if the game was not played.

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