In response to the ongoing COVID outbreak and lockdown in the state, NSW Rugby Union (NSWRU) and its Affiliate Unions have today announced the cancellation of all winter rugby competitions in the Sydney and Illawarra regions.
With no NSW Government roadmap out of lockdown offered for Community sport, NSWRU, Sydney Rugby Union (SRU) and its affiliates were ultimately left no option but to cancel.
In reaching their decision, NSWRU considered its obligation to comply with Public Health Orders as well as its broader obligation to provide participants with a safe environment in which to play sport.
NSWRU Chief Executive Officer, Paul Doorn, said that the difficult decision was made with the health and safety of the rugby community paramount.
“2021 continues to present us with many challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and the safety of our community continues to be of utmost importance,” Doorn said.
“We have assessed a number of contingency options and after consultation with Affiliates, our collective position is that the 2021 season cannot proceed under current restrictions.
“In these challenging times, it is imperative that our community work together, to keep ourselves, peers, teammates, coaches, volunteers and the whole New South Wales community safe.
“We’re dealing with unprecedented times, but I know that if our rugby community continues to stick together, we will be able to come out stronger on the other side.”
The competitions affected include Sydney Junior Rugby Union, NSW Suburban Rugby Union, Sydney Rugby Union (including Charter Hall Shute Shield), Women’s Jack Scott Cup, Regular Schoolboy Competitions in Term Three and the Illawarra Zone Junior and Senior competitions.
All other regional Zones in NSW are still progressing at this time, while some competitions may be in abeyance due to temporary lockdowns.
It is only the fifth time in its 147-year history – and the first time since World War One - that the Shute Shield season will be cancelled.
General Manager of Sydney Rugby Union (SRU), Peter Watkins, stated that SRU were left with no other alternative.
“SRU would like to thank NSWRU for their tireless efforts in working with us to keep the season alive,” he said.
“I know what the Charter Hall Shute Shield means to the community and the impact of the season cancelation has on our rugby family.
“I would like to thank Charter Hall, Rugby Australia, Stan and our clubs for working with us over the past few months. Further, I would like to thank the players and fans of Premiership Rugby for the enduring support of our great competition.”
Watkins also confirmed that there would be no premierships awarded for the shortened season.
“I would like to acknowledge Sydney University, who remained undefeated in the Charter Hall Shute Shield, Eastern Suburbs and Gordon who jointly lead the Colin Caird Shield, Eastern Suburbs who lead the Henderson Shield and Warringah who are first in the Henderson Cup,” he said.
“I would also like to recognise those who lead our Colts competitions; Gordon in the William McMahon Shield, Eastern Suburbs in the Shell Trophy and Gordon in the Bill Simpson Shield.
“We look forward to seeing the success of these Clubs continue in 2022.”