THE Southland senior club rugby competition could start as early as June 20, if Government guidelines allow numbers to increase.
Rugby Southland club rugby development officer Bob Cullen said yesterday guidelines from the New Zealand Rugby Union released earlier in the week, would see training start from May 25, pre-season matches played from June 13 and senior competition could begin a week later.
Strict protocols regarding contact tracing and health and safety would have to be followed with clubs completing checklists to ensure they met regulations as well as the Government and Ministry of Health easing restrictions on numbers at sports or gatherings, he said.
The short timeframe meant preseason training and matches would be cut short by a couple of weeks.
“Player welfare is number one. We need to make sure body condition is right when they start playing.
“Clubs will really need to get trainings under way and make training quite arduous.”
It was hoped the senior season would be competed over nine weeks with the last games on August 15.
Discussions would be held next week to discuss junior and high school rugby competitions, Cullen said.
Other Southland sporting codes were all rallying to get seasons started.
Invercargill netball centre manager Hayley Sanford said netball centres were awaiting information from Netball New Zealand (NNZ) about delivery of community netball.
“We will be holding some kind of competition but we can’t confirm yet when or how or what format it will be held in until they (NNZ) release that information.”
Sanford said the competition would be condensed into a shorter season and would involve players aged from Year 1 to senior netball players.
All representative netball had already been cancelled with NNZ directing regional tournaments not be held.
Different sporting representatives were working in conjunction to ensure all sports could be delivered.
There was a possibility different sports would be held on different nights in Invercargill so children who played more than one code could still take part, she said.
Basketball Southland general manager Jill Bolger said the association was working on a get ready, be prepared and play strategy.
“We just need a bit of time to plan now, then it will be administration and registrations before draws can be done and play can start.”
She hoped senior community basketball would begin on June 20 with secondary school basketball played in term three. The mini-ball competition for younger players might not possibly start until term four, she said.
Hockey Southland general manager Tracy McCall said the organisation had been consulting with clubs regarding logistics.
“Finding out who they’ve still got out there, who’s wanting to play.”
With all national hockey tournaments now cancelled, there was still potential to hold a regional tournament, she said.
“That’s not our priority at this stage though. Our priority is to get club hockey back up and running with as many players as possible,” she said.