Rugby and the Covid Protection Framework

The Covid Protection Framework (CPF) is in place to keep New Zealand a safe place to live as we navigate the Covid-19 Pandemic. This means we can participate in and watch rugby, but there are a number of measures in place under the CPF that we need to follow so that it can go ahead safely, and minimise the risk of Covid-19.

New Zealand Rugby, along with Sport NZ have produced guidelines for Rugby which align with the CPF. These guidelines cover all aspects, including training, changing rooms, match days, and clubrooms.

On this page you will find support for developing your own club or school's match day plan, a template which can be used to create this, plus links to supporting documentation from New Zealand Rugby.

UPDATE 23 MARCH - The recent government announcement has changes which come into effect from Friday night, 25th March. Once more guidance is provided from Sport NZ and NZ Rugby, we will update our templates and information. For games prior to 4th April 2022, the following can be considered:

  • Covid Health & Safety plans are still required, and must be signed off by BOPRU 4 whole business days before a fixture
  • Any changes to an existing signed off Health & Safety Plan must be checked by BOPRU
  • Gatherings where vaccine passes are NOT checked still have a 25 person limit
  • Controlled gatherings (vaccine passes checked) OUTDOORS have no limit i.e. no need for multiple controlled gatherings - the whole outdoor venue can be one controlled gathering including the participants in the game and spectators.
  • Minimum 2m distance must still be maintained between controlled and uncontrolled spaces.
  • Signage advising of controlled gatherings/Vaccine passes still required.
  • Vaccine passes still required for controlled gatherings, and still must be checked (includes players, coaches, volunteers etc)
  • No QR Code/contact tracing required
  • No requirement for mask wearing outdoors. Masks are still required indoors (clubrooms, tunnels, change rooms etc)
  • 200 person gathering limit applies to indoor spaces including clubrooms. Vaccine passes must be checked.

Creating Your Covid-19 Safety Plan

Under the RED setting of the Covid Protection Framework, no match (regardless of grade) can happen without an approved Covid-19 Health & Safety Plan. BOPRU can provide support when completing this plan. Please take note of the following:

  • The plan should be considered FIRST before anything else organised. If it is not feasible to deliver the match safely within the framework, then the match shouldn't be organised.
  • This plan does take time, people and effort. It requires attention to detail and volunteers to execute it well. Yes, these are extras that no-one really wants to do, but it is what is required for Rugby at the moment to be played. It is not a matter of simply "turn up and play".
  • The plan must have it's final sign-off from BOPRU no later than 4 whole business days prior to kick-off. Almost always there are edits which need to be made to a plan upon being submitted the first time, so ensure this is done weeks ahead of the fixture, not left until the last minute.
  • If you require support from BOPRU, please don't hesitate to contact Lisa Appert. Alternatively, Pat Rae and Cam Russell can provide support in the case that Lisa is unavailable.

What your plan needs to cover...

Please see the New Zealand Rugby links above, along with the BOPRU Covid-19 Safety Planner Template for full details of what your plan requires. But in a nutshell, it needs to outline the following:

  • Who is responsible for creating the plan, implementing the plan, and ensuring the plan is being followed throughout the day
  • What controlled gatherings will be established - the playing gathering (players, coaches, sideline personnel, kaimahi etc) plus any additional spectator gatherings
  • How Vaccine passes for controlled gatherings will be checked, including for those participating in the game
  • How gatherings will be separated by at least 2m at all times, and never cross-over/mingle with each other until the event is complete (following aftermatch)
  • What signage will be displayed and where, including maps of the grounds, QR codes, and where controlled areas begin
  • How everyone involved will have the plan communicated with them and know what to do on game day
  • What facilities and sanitary measures are available to each gathering

Planning Support Workshop
Hosted Online - Wednesday 16th March


This workshop takes you through a step-by-step guide to the planning template, highlighting areas of importance, along with showing a real-life example of a Covid Safety plan in action. Includes questions from our clubs and schools.


Coaches and Managers are often at the heart of rugby "logistics", usually having some part in the setup on match day. 

If you are a coach or manager, it is not sufficient for someone at your club or school to just create a Covid plan and you not know the detail. There are elements woven through the plan which require the input and leadership of coaches and managers. Players and spectators will often look up to you for leadership and guidance. Be involved with the creation and implementation of your Covid plan, and take it seriously.

Demonstrate best practise by wearing masks, keeping people distanced where possible, hold pre-match talks outside. All little things which make a big difference.


Match Officials have a critical role in ensuring the safety of everyone, not just on the field, but also with the way in which they interact with people. Most Match Officials attend more than one game on a Saturday, so it is important to use common sense and follow some additional measures to keep themselves and others safe, reducing the risk of infection crossing from one game to another.


Are you returning to play after having caught Covid-19? Whether you suffered moderate to severe symptoms, or if you just ended up with a sniffle, your body needs the proper care and time to recondition to full rugby activity. Below is a useful guide to returning to training and play following a Covid-19 infection, courtesy of our friends at The Coaching Gig.

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