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Weathered Northland Pitch To Neutral Territory

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Auckland, July 23 NZPA - Northland has been forced to move their opening home game of the provincial rugby competition to neutral ground at North Harbour after Okara Park's surface has been bogged down by bad weather.

The New Zealand Rugby Union said Northland's second round match against Taranaki will be played on August 6 at North Harbour Stadium after a stadium inspection found it was unlikely Okara Park's playing surface would be satisfactory.

Northland Rugby Union chairman Andrew Golightly agreed with the decision, although he said it was disappointing.

"While the surface is suitable for general play it does not hold up under pressure from scrummaging," he said.

"That's where player safety comes into play and we are not prepared to put that at risk."

The match could not be relocated to another venue in Northland because of a lack of quality flood lighting.

Northland's first game on their home ground is now scheduled for round five on August 28 against Otago.

Their third round fixture against Auckland will be played in the afternoon at Kerikeri on August 15.

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