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Premier 2 mens final cancelled due to Covid scare

The Premier 1 Development match and Premier 1 Mens final (which will be livestreamed free) are unaffected and will go ahead as planned. Photo: File

Update, 9.15am Covid-19 has reared its ugly head in the Bay of Plenty and as a result, two of the Farmlands Baywide Premier Rugby matches have been cancelled. 

The Premier 2 final between Rotoiti and Rangataua and the Premier 2 Development final between Rangataua and Marist St Michaels have both been called off overnight. 

When the Ministry of Health released its latest, “Locations of Interest” yesterday to include a petrol station in Tauriko and a bakery in Mount Maunganui, a player from one of the club’s participating in one of those matches found himself as a casual contact having been at the same venue on the same day and between the same times. 

"He did exactly what he was supposed to do; went and got a test, notified his team manager and is now home self-isolating for the next 14 days and awaiting the test result," says a Bay of Plenty Rugby spokesperson.

"The player has done all the right things. He wore a mask when he visited the location of interest and scanned in using the covid tracer app."

Once news of the player and his unfortunate situation was brought to the attention of the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union and all three clubs involved in the two matches, all parties unilaterally decided that people’s health and well-being was far more important than playing a club rugby final. 

The Bay of Plenty Rugby Competitions and Emergency Committee will decide next week what to do with the trophies.  

“When the news initially came to light our executive committee were all uncomfortable with playing the game and after having a video conference with Rotoiti late last night we are absolutely convinced we’ve made the right decision," says Rangataua Chairperson Erin Gardiner.

“We really feel for the Rotoiti and Rangataua clubs. They’ve put in a lot of mahi to get to where they are. We also 100% support their decision," says Marist St Michaels chairman Greg Temple.

“Rotoiti is a small community and any risk of a covid outbreak here is too much of a risk," says Rotoiti Premier 2 Mens Head Coach Victoria Grant. "We applaud the player and his courage and honesty for doing the right thing and coming forward and to the club for being open and honest and allowing us to be a part of the decision-making process.” 

“I absolutely applaud the stance that our clubs have taken on this matter," says Bay of Plenty Rugby Community Rugby Manager Pat Rae. "While it would be nice to play a game of rugby on this gorgeous fine day, however, the reality is, this delta strain and it’s highly infectious nature is in the community and we must all ensure we do what we can to stamp it out.”  

The Premier 1 Mens match being played at Puarenga Park between Whakarewarewa and Tauranga Sports and the Premier 1 Development match being played at Murray Salt Stadium between Te Puke and Tauranga Sports are unaffected by this decision and will go ahead as planned. 

The Premier 1 Final will be live-streamed for free on the Bay of Plenty Rugby Facebook page thanks to Local Gecko Productions. 

“For the Tauranga Sports bubble heading to Puerenga Park, hosts Whakarewarewa have asked that you all wear a mask when attending the match and you strictly adhere to their level 2 restrictions and protocols including staying home if you have any symptoms, park in your designated area and watch from your bubble area," says Pat.

Games being played at Alert Level 2:  

No public access is permitted at any of the finals of the games under Alert Level 2.  

The host clubs have developed their Level 2 Covid-19 Safety Plans and made arrangements with their opposition to cater for team bubbles, which cannot exceed 100 people.  

The Premier 1 Final will be live-streamed for free on the Bay of Plenty Rugby Facebook page. 

If you have been to any of the locations of interest listed on the Ministry of Health website, you must get a COVID test and self isolate immediately. Please do not attend any of the Baywide Finals if you have any of the following: 

  • Awaiting a COVID-19 test result 

  • Have been to any of the location of interests on the days and between the times listed on the Ministry of Health website 

  • If you have any COVID Symptoms 

Earlier, 7am:

The participants of the Farmlands Co-operative Baywide Premier Men's Club Rugby Finals will retake the field today with the chance of becoming 2021 champions. 

Whakarewarewa will host Tauranga Sports in the Premier 1 final for the first time in the club’s history after they both took out their respective semi-finals back in August. 

Whakarewarewa defeated Greerton Marist 31-22 while Tauranga Sports belied their fourth-place standing to beat top qualifier Te Puna 20-14.  

"We're obviously really pleased and relieved we get the opportunity to finish the season with a final," says Tauranga Sports Head Coach John Haynes-Dodd. 

"The lockdown was really unlucky timing to kick in just before the final was meant to be played, but from all we've heard and seen, it's been an exciting build-up despite the limitations. Both teams are pumped for the opportunity." 

Both coaches are not letting earlier season form play too much of a role in their preparation for the match. With the nationwide lockdown putting a halt to all sport, teams have essentially had to hit the reset button.  

Whakarewarewa Head Coach Jeremey Hikuroa says that his team has done all that it can to prepare given the circumstances. 

“Luckily for us, we have a self-driven and self-led team who have gone out of their way to keep themselves active and in good physical shape during the lockdown.  The boys had to band together over that time to keep motivated. When we were finally able to get back to training that definitely helped.” 

As previously mentioned, today's game will be the first time Whakarewarewa has hosted the Premier 1 final. 

“The Rotorua community is thrilled by the occasion but also saddened by the nature of Alert Level 2 restrictions which mean a large vocal crowd cannot attend and support the historic occasion," says Jeremey.

“At the end of the day, the team is really excited that they get to play rugby and play for the chance at a championship.

“We are looking forward what will be a great battle v Tauranga Sports this Saturday.” 

Games being played at Alert Level 2 on Saturday September 18: 

No public access is permitted at any of the finals of the games under Alert Level 2. 

The host clubs have developed their Level 2 Covid-19 Safety Plans and made arrangements with their opposition to cater for team bubbles, which cannot exceed 100 people. 

If you have been to any of the locations of interest listed on the Ministry of Health website, you must get a COVID test and self isolate immediately. Please do not attend any of the Baywide Finals if you have any of the following:
- Awaiting a COVID-19 test result
- Have been to any of the location of interests on the days and between the times listed on the Ministry of Health website
- If you have any COVID Symptoms

The Premier 1 Final will be live-streamed for free on the Bay of Plenty Rugby Facebook page thanks to Local Gecko Productions. 

2021 Farmlands Co-operative Baywide Premier Men’s Club Rugby finals (home team listed first) 

Premier 1 Development Final: Te Puke Sports v Tauranga Sports, 1.00pm 

Premier 2 Development Final: Rangataua v Marist St Michael’s, 1.00pm  NOW CANCELLED

Premier 1 Final: Whakarewarewa v Tauranga Sports, 2.45pm - free Facebook livestream

Premier 2 Final: Rotoiti v Rangataua, 2.45pm - NOW CANCELLED

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