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Rugby Union

Contact sports suspended

Thursday 3 March 2022 | Written by Rashneel Kumar | Published in Sports

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Contact sports suspended
Rugby league is one of the sports affected by the new Ministerial Order suspending all forms of contact sports until this Sunday, following an increase in community transmission of Covid-19 in Rarotonga. PHOTO: RASHNEEL KUMAR/ 22030204

Cook Islands Rugby League domestic competition and the national Touch weekly matches are the two major sporting events affected by the latest Covid-19 related restriction.

Prime Minister Mark Brown yesterday authorised a new Ministerial Order suspending all forms of contact sports until this Sunday, following an increase in community transmission of Covid-19 in Rarotonga.

In lead up to the announcement, Cook Islands Touch Association postponed yesterday’s mixed division games “due to increasing case numbers and for the safety of all players”.

“We are asking all players to please get tested as we have been advised of a player present on Monday testing positive (yesterday),” the association said.

Cook Islands Rugby League also sent out a notification yesterday afternoon advising the clubs of the new Ministerial Order.

The round four matches supposed to be played tomorrow and Saturday have now been postponed.

Francis Toa, the association secretary and competition coordinator, said: “We have been wary of this Covid situation since we learnt that borders were going to be opened. We anticipated that the Covid sickness will have some impact on our season.”

“Some clubs already had measurements in place to mitigate the risks by having a sign-in/tag-in station at the games with a sanitiser for those entering and leaving the games.

“We’ve also asked clubs and referees to have backup plans in place in case volunteers in the clubs and/or refs are required to isolate and cannot perform duties at the weekly games.”

The good thing about the domestic rugby league competition is that it’s played in an open well-ventilated area, Toa says.

“However, given that the sport is a contact sport, we knew if the Covid cases started rising, some games will be suspended.”

Prior to receiving the Ministerial Order yesterday, Cook Islands Rugby League on Tuesday agreed to suspend all junior matches this week due to the uncertainty of the spread of Covid-19 and the vulnerability of the kids (having had only one dose of vaccine).

“CIRL will adhere to TMO (Te Marae Ora health ministry) directives and will look at recommencing the season once we have been given the all-clear by TMO.”