Touch rugby nationals postponed

By Tumamao Harawira

Touch New Zealand (TNZ) has decided to reschedule the 2021 Bunnings National Touch Championship, which had been planned for March 4-7 at Nga Puna Wai, Christchurch.

This follows the change in the Covid-19 Alert levels. A total of 84 teams were to have descended on Christchurch for a four-day long tournament in open, youth and masters grades. More than 1700 players, 100 referees and 50 tournament support staff have been affected by this decision. Discussions are already underway over proposed new dates for the tournament probably in the first half of this year.

Takoha Ropati is one of the perennial touch players and he sympathises with all involved. "Players and administrators save money every year, so if it were to move to a new time or place, that would be a huge cost.

Still user-pays

"The main thing is that the competition is still alive for this year. It's just been postponed, so I am happy about that."

According to Touch NZ chief executive Joe Sprangers, there was nothing that could be done, as this was a result of the coronavirus resurgence.

"Our position is to service our membership. The nationals area culmination of the community sector, leading into our pathways and high performance and our people deserve to go and do something.  We are still very much a user-pays sport, as you're probably well aware, so at this level everybody pays for what they get. Touch NZ uses our partners for support, and they are very, very supportive around this event."

But Ropati says that there are much more important issues to deal with, "The main thing is to look after your whānau. What is the biggest thing in this world? It is people. So we need to stay in our bubbles. Touch is only a game."

Touch NZ is expected to make an announcement about the staging of the tournament later.