19 Aug 2020

No exemptions given for Auckland players to travel to Wellington

7:38 am on 19 August 2020

The Auckland-based players involved in the North-South rugby game may be left at home with the Health Minister saying he hasn't given any exemptions for them to travel to Wellington.

Blues players celebrate fullback Matt Duffie's try.


The game between the North and South Islands is scheduled to be played at Eden Park on 29 August.

However with Auckland in Alert Level 3 until at least 26 August the game remains in doubt and New Zealand Rugby has been looking at contingency plans.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) said they were hopeful the match could still be played in Auckland but were preparing for it to be played in the capital on the same day.

The squads are scheduled to assemble in Wellington on Monday.

Health Minister Chris Hipkins said he hasn't received any requests for the 13 Auckland and North Harbour based players to be given special clearance to leave the region.

He added that no exemptions have been given for the Auckland based players to assemble in Wellington with the North and South squads.

Hipkins said he hasn't given assurances to NZR that the players will be able to leave Auckland.

He said he would expect either himself or the Director General of Health to be involved in the decision making process and he's not aware that either of them have been.

Hipkins said it's unlikely he would grant exemptions for the players to leave Auckland, considering MPs are not travelling to Wellington for parliament sitting.

He said at this point he would say no to allowing the 13 players to travel to Wellington.

Earlier this week NZR said they were working through the Government's normal exemption process to seek approval for the Auckland-based players and management to assemble in Wellington from next Monday.

"A final decision on the venue for the match will be made following the Government's review of Covid-19 levels on Friday," NZR said.

In the event that the match can't go ahead in Auckland, ticket holders would be refunded.