Crowd restrictions for Hammers game at Hinds

Inoke Tonga busts through a Buller tackle. Photo Graham Shaw

Spectators will be limited by covid restrictions to 100 when Mid Canterbury takes on North Otago in a senior representative rugby game at Hinds on Saturday.

The match will begin at 2.30pm and will also be livestreamed. Spectators need a ticket from Mid Canterbury Rugby, ordered via its Facebook page and limited to two per person.

North Otago will be a tough test, as they come off a 24-7 loss to South Canterbury at the weekend, relinquishing the Hanan Shield. Mid Canterbury beat Buller 41-17 at Hanmer at the weekend in a match that gave coach Jason Rickard a chance to blood some new players.

That game followed a 31-31 draw with South Canterbury the previous weekend.

The Heartland Championship was axed back in March by New Zealand Rugby but the three Hanan Shield unions formed their own challenge series based on home and away fixtures played over five weeks. Buller rugby also joined in for three games.

Mid Canterbury will play North Otago again on September 26, at Oamaru, in their final game of the season. The Hammers will not have the opportunity this season for a Hanan Shield challenge against South Canterbury.

Mid Canterbury Rugby chief executive Ian Patterson said covid had resulted in unprecedented challenges but the union had been lucky to have some rugby at senior rep level. One positive spinoff was that more games might be livestreamed in the future now unions had the technology and know-how.

Saturday’s match will be livestreamed via a link on the union’s Facebook page.