NPC: NZ Rugby confirms three more weeks without Auckland-based teams under COVID-19 protocols

Auckland-based teams are resigned to another three weeks away from national provincial competition, despite the NZ Government's revised COVID-19 protocols for the nation's biggest city.

After a month at Alert Level 4 lockdown, Auckland will drop to Level 3 for at least two weeks, still a level behind the rest of the country.

That distinction is important, since Level 2 allows sports teams to train and play with limits to the size of their gatherings - that is still not possible at Level 3.

The NPC and Farah Palmer Cup women's competition resumed last weekend, without Auckland, North Harbour or Counties Manukau, and NZ Rugby concedes they are still at least three weeks away from rejoining the fray.

"We remain hopeful Counties-Manukau, North Harbour and Auckland will re-join the competition at a later stage," says NZ Rugby community rugby general manger Steve Lancaster. 

"We are reviewing the impact of the latest Government announcement and working through a number of options to enable those teams to re-enter the competition."

After releasing two weeks of revised fixtures earlier this month, NZ Rugby has released two more, with five NPC games this weekend and four on the following two.

The earliest the Auckland teams can return is October 15.

Earlier this week, those unions officially pulled the pins on their Farah Palmer Cup women's hopes, with that competition entering its final regular season round this week and playoffs next week.

The revised NPC draw is:

Week Four

Friday, September 24 - Tasman v Waikato at Nelson, 7:05pm

Saturday, September 25 - Manawatu v Northland at Palmerston North, 2:05pm

Saturday, September 25 - Southland v Canterbury at Invercargill, 4:05pm

Sunday, September 26 - Wellington v Hawke's Bay at Wellington, 2:05pm

Sunday, September 26 - Bay of Plenty v Taranaki at Tauranga, 4:35pm

Week Five

Friday, October 1 - Northland v 

More to come