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Auckland Rugby League target June 20 to return

Select Auckland Rugby League senior competitions are set to return to competitive play on Saturday, June 20, following the New Zealand Rugby League’s announcement that on Friday, May 29, the game will enter the ‘Prepare to Play’ phase for a minimum of three weeks.

This follows Monday’s Government announcement that gathering numbers permitted for grassroots sport will increase to 100 people come midday on May 29.

The ARL competitions set to return on June 20 are:

  • SAS Fox Memorial Premiership
  • SAS Fox Memorial Premiership Premier 1st (Reserves)
  • Crown Lift Trucks Fox Championship
  • Crown Lift Trucks Fox Championship Premier 1st (Reserves)

There will be a staggered return for other Auckland Rugby League grades between June 20 and July 4, to assist clubs in complying with the various COVID-19 requirements which will be in place. Further announcements regarding the start dates for these grades will be provided at a later date.

All planned dates are subject to change and dependant on the ongoing situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the ‘Prepare to Play’ phase, Auckland Rugby League clubs can resume contact and non-contact training, but only once they have required COVID-19 plans in place which have been approved by the Auckland Rugby League.

No rugby league activity is to take place on any field or facility prior to the Auckland Rugby League approving the required plans below:

  • Club Contact Tracing Plan
  • Club Hygiene Plan
  • Club Social Distancing Plan

All ARL clubs have been made aware of these requirements and their responsibilities, and individual clubs will advise teams and members when approval to use fields has been granted by the ARL.

In a statement on Tuesday the NZRL said it is important to note the further three-week postponement of competitive rugby league provides time for players to transition their bodies from light training through to full contact, minimising risk of injury after a long hiatus, with player safety paramount.

The NZRL also stressed the fact that clubs should not rush to return to training if they are not ready, and should instead continue to use the ‘Prepare to Play’ period to properly ensure their facility can abide by all mandatory health requirements.