Coronavirus hits sports: Kiwi sports stars, teams react to NZ Government's border reopening plan

The re-opening of New Zealand borders under COVID-19 has met with huge relief from some of our biggest sporting names.

On Thursday, the NZ Government announced vaccinated Kiwis can return home without mandatory isolation and quarantine from February 27.

The announcement comes as a huge relief for Kiwi athletes, including shot-put king Tom Walsh.

"I had mentally prepared myself for being away until September from March, so to have the announcement today from the Government is awesome," Walsh tells Newshub.

The Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist frequently travels to the US and Europe to compete, and the decision adds certainty his life has lacked over the past two years.

"It just makes it a lot easier, rather than sitting in those queues and hoping you get a slot back, because that's no way to live, just hoping you can return to your own country. 

"It's made my life around world indoor [championships] a lot easier, in terms of coming home."

But it's too late for the Breakers, who'll remain across the ditch for the rest of the Australian Basketball League season.

The Warriors will begin their NRL campaign in Australia, although they hope to return to their Mt Smart headquarters later in the year.

Wellington Phoenix men also aim to return for some home A-League fixtures, while the Phoenix women now seem assured of a homecoming in early March.

New Zealand Cricket remains in conversation with their Aussie counterparts over next month's Twenty20 international series at Napier's McLean Park.

The series had previously been subject to managed isolation quarantine availability, but there seems renewed optimism in light of the NZ Government's imminent relaxing of the trans-Tasman border.

And while the news has been welcomed by Super Rugby coaches, how it affects that competition is yet to be confirmed.

"We'll play where we need to play and where we're told to play, and we hope that at some stage in the near future, we get back to some sense of normality," says Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan.

Watch the full story above

Sign up to receive news updates

By entering your email address, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Newshub and its affiliates may use your email address to provide updates/news, ads, and offers. To withdraw your consent or learn more about your rights, see the Privacy Policy.