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Impacts on community rugby due to Covid-19

Harry Galbraith
harry rugby photo

Community rugby is an important part of most small New Zealand towns, so what does the future look like post pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a hold to all sports across the world, and community rugby is no exception.

Community rugby is an important part of bringing smaller towns together, but Covid-19 has put a stop to that and could potentially change rugby as we know it.

Mid Canterbury Rugby CEO, Ian Patterson, believes that a lot of clubs will be hit hard by this as they all have overheads and with the season not kicking off yet there will be no current income for them.

Originally the Government said it could be played at full contact at level 1, and rugby teams could have non-contact training sessions at level 3, but that could all change with the announcement on Thursday about what can happen at levels 2 and 3.

In terms of the current season, Patterson is unsure of when the return will be and in what form.

A couple options that have been discussed at Mid Canterbury Rugby Union is a lot more seven-a-side, ten-a-side and potentially little contact versions of the game such as rippa rugby and touch rugby.

Once there is a return to rugby, an initiative that the Government and Rugby Unions are looking at is an app that everyone who turns up to the grounds on game day will have to register with, to make contact tracing easier.

Patterson believes the forced stoppage to the season may be a positive or negative for the numbers of participation. He believes players may find a new interest in lockdown, such as gaming, or that old and new players may be refreshed and keen to get back and play the game in whatever form it may be played in.