The Vodafone Warriors and the Blues have been forced to cancel next Saturday’s ‘Codes of Auckland’ rugby league-rugby union double header at Eden Park due to the introduction of New Zealand’s new travel restrictions in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision follows an announcement overnight that the Super Rugby competition has been suspended while the Vodafone Warriors have been forced to remain in Australia indefinitely to continue their involvement in the NRL competition.
The Vodafone Warriors were scheduled to meet the Canberra Raiders in the NRL leg of the Eden Park event next Saturday while the Blues were to face the Brumbies in their Super Rugby contest.
“It’s hugely disappointing for both of us that this venture won’t be able to proceed this week but there are clearly far greater concerns right now,” CEOs Cameron George (Vodafone Warriors) and Andrew Hore (Blues) said in a joint statement.
“While it’s beyond our control on this occasion we’re both keen to ensure we bring our two codes together in the future. We’ve worked on joint ventures before and plan to be involved in a lot more.
“We’d like to thank all those members and fans who got in behind ‘Codes of Auckland’ and we also thank Eden Park and ATEED for all their efforts in supporting it.”
Steve Armitage, GM Destination, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) said: “Our collective priority is the health and safety of the fans and visitors to the region so we support the decision to cancel this event.
“We look forward to working with all involved around the possibility of pursuing this concept again in the future, particularly given that events can and will play an important role in re-invigorating the visitor economy and assisting the eventual recovery from the impacts of Covid-19.
Eden Park CEO Nick Sautner said while this is a challenging time for the event industry, he is heartened that both the Blues and the Warriors organisations want to revisit joint ventures in the future.
“This period continues to be an uncertain and unprecedented time for the event industry however the health of our staff, patrons and visiting athletes remains the priority,” said Sautner, who said his team are working through logistics of upcoming sporting events at Eden Park.
George and Hore said their organisations and Eden Park will work through the impact of the cancellation and advise fans in due course – and thank them for their understanding.