New Zealand Rugby League has made the executive decision to cancel next week’s NZRL Secondary Schools competition in light of the current measles outbreak.

The Secondary School’s competition was to be held at Pulman Park, Takanini from the 2nd – 6th of September, hosting 26 schools from across the country. Several of the schools involved have recorded measles cases among their students in the past week.

Unfortunately, the occurrence of measles has been most prevalent in South Auckland, with Counties Manukau DHB recording 72% (527) of Auckland’s 731 confirmed cases of measles. With this in mind, we do not want to risk potentially exposing others travelling for the tournament. The health and safety of the players, staff, supporters and volunteers are paramount above all else.

Greg Peters, CEO of NZRL, says: “This is an unfortunate outcome, as our Secondary Schools Tournament is one of our most exciting events, but it is the only decision that can be made under these circumstances. We sought medical advice and liaised with stakeholders who all agreed with our positioning. We understand people may be disappointed by our decision and we apologise for any inconvenience caused; however, the welfare of our players and all involved in the tournament comes first.”

Dr John Mayhew, Head of NZRL Medical Advisory, says: “The vaccination status of the participants in this tournament is uncertain therefore the risk of transmission is very high. It is not appropriate for NZRL to host the tournament under these circumstances.”

Garry Carnachan, CEO of New Zealand Secondary Schools Sports Council, says: “Rugby League have identified a number of additional risk factors that are unique to this event which we appreciate. These factors are difficult to mitigate and Rugby League have therefore made the decision to cancel this event.”