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Wai-Bush welcomes mandate

A Tuhirangi player is tackled by a Puketoi opponent in a senior reserve game. All senior club players will require a covid-19 vaccination certificate to be able to play in 2022. PHOTO/FILE

RUGBY

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Wairarapa-Bush Rugby Union will work closely with clubs and schools to implement the New Zealand Rugby [NZR] mandate on player participation under the covid-19 traffic light system.

NZR has directed that all 15-a-side teenage and senior community rugby players will need covid-19 vaccination certificates to be able to play in 2022.

Under the government and Sport New Zealand’s Covid-19 Protection Framework, gatherings in the red traffic light setting which do not use covid-19 vaccination certificates are limited to 25 people.

Therefore, 15-a-side rugby competitions could not proceed without the use of covid-19 vaccination certificates because of the restriction on numbers.

The decision to ensure 15-a-side community rugby competitions can continue without disruption in all three traffic light settings is supported by the 26 provincial unions.

Wai-Bush chief executive Tony Hargood said the key to the NZR directive was to get a consistent mandate right across the country or unions could end up operating under different processes.

The Wai-Bush Council of Clubs met on Tuesday night to discuss how the union would carry out the directive within the province.

“Our view is we’re going to take a really positive attitude to it,” said Hargood.

“We’ll work through the mandate with the clubs over the next couple of months, and we’ll definitely review the mandate in the New Year depending on what’s happening with the traffic light system.”

Hargood added that he will talk to summer sports organisations and see what lessons he can take from their experiences in implementing covid-19 protocols and if any improvements can be made.

The Covid-19 Protection Framework guidelines for sport and recreation gatherings apply to players, referees, coaches, management, and support staff.

The biggest concern for Hargood could be how each club will manage their home grounds, with some clubs based on council-owned grounds and others playing on their own land, with the framework also applying to spectators.

NZR is continuing to work with the Health Ministry and Sport New Zealand, and further guidance will be issued by NZR in early 2022, including for Small Blacks rugby and players aged five to 11 years.

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