Three Auckland rugby teams won't play again this year

The rugby season is over for the Auckland, North Harbour and Counties-Manukau provincial sides.

The three Auckland provinces were forced to withdraw from the NPC earlier this month because of level 3 Covid restrictions but it had been hoped to establish a Super City competition for the three sides however New Zealand Rugby says with the continuation of restrictions in Auckland that won't be possible.

On Monday the government announced that the Auckland region will continue to operate under current COVID-19 Alert Level 3 restrictions, for the next two weeks.

Steve Lancaster, NZR General Manager of Community Rugby said the ongoing inability of teams to train together meant there was not enough preparation time for players to safely return to full contact rugby in 2021:

"It is disappointing we couldn't put up a Super City Series for Auckland, North Harbour and Counties Manukau, while it would have been great to provide some meaningful rugby for the region it wasn't feasible with the current Alert Level restrictions in place for the next two weeks."

"We needed players to be able to prepare for return to play this week to kick off the series so it could be completed before the end of November. We have reached this decision in consultation with the three affected teams and while we are all incredibly frustrated, we are looking forward to what we hope will be a more positive season for them in 2022."

The remaining 11 Provincial Unions will continue to play for a place in the semi-finals and finals, which will be played on the weekend's of 13 and 20 November respectively.

Last week New Zealand Rugby decided to scrap promotion-relegation from the national provincial championship this year amid the on-going impact of the pandemic.

The first two weeks of the NPC were played in full before Covid-19 alert level restrictions saw the competition put on hold.

While the rest of the country started up again in September, Auckland, Counties-Manukau and North Harbour were forced off the field and officially withdrew from the competition earlier this month.

The Farah Palmer Cup was concluded without the three Auckland sides with Waikato beating Canterbury in the final.