Tauranga ditched amid netball travel concerns

The Silver Ferns are currently training in Christchurch. Photo. Michael Bradley.

Netball New Zealand have confirmed the Silver Ferns will not be playing in Tauranga this weekend due to the recent change in Covid alert levels.

Dame Noeline Taurua’s team were set to take on the Australian Diamonds at Trustpower Baypark Arena on Saturday, March 6, and Sunday, 7 March.

The Silver Ferns are taking on Australia at Christchurch Arena on Tuesday, March 2, and Wednesday, March 3, as part of the Constellation Cup test series.

The decision has been made to remain in Christchurch for the two remaining games of the series in order to alleviate travel concerns.

“We are hugely disappointed for our netball fans who were looking forward to seeing the world champion Silver Ferns take on their biggest rivals, the world number one Diamonds,” says NNZ chief executive Jennie Wyllie.

“Our sporting landscape has changed and we must adapt and change with it.”

“However, the priority for us will however always be the safety and wellbeing of the athletes, fans and all of those involved in the Cadbury Netball Series.”

New Zealand Cricket has made a similar decision with the Blackcaps and White Ferns, who will no longer play their T20 double-header at the Bay Oval on Sunday, March 7. Those fixtures will be played in Wellington.

Crowds for the Constellation Cup, played as part of the Cadbury Netball Series, will not be permitted due to the re-emergence of Covid-19 in the community and change of alert levels around the country.

Jennie says the decision to play all tests in Christchurch was around safety by minimising the need for teams to travel.

“Again, this is about the safety of the athletes, management and staff involved and being able to play all four Tests in a controlled environment played a big part in our decisions to go ahead.”

The Constellation Cup matches will be broadcast live on Sky Sport 3 and delayed on Prime, while all ticket purchasers will be contacted by Ticketek and will receive a full refund.

“We understand the disappointment that comes with making these decisions but we also feel fortunate that international netball can still be played and know the athletes from both teams will want to perform for the netball community,” says Jennie.

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