Jun 12, 2020 - Sports

Rugby is back in New Zealand

A young rugby fan has his face painted blue and yellow to support the Highlanders in New Zealand

A young Highlanders fan. Photo: Martin Hunter/Getty Images

This weekend, New Zealand's Super Rugby league will become the world's first major sports league to return from the shutdown without crowd restrictions.

The state of play: Some 20,000 fans are expected to be on hand in Dunedin when the Highlanders host the Chiefs, the first Super League game since mid-March.

  • And a record 35,000 could show up on Sunday in Auckland (New Zealand's largest city) when the Blues host the Highlanders.

The backdrop: There are currently no active cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand, and the country largely opened up its society on Monday, including stores, restaurants and public transportation.

  • Overall, New Zealand has confirmed 1,154 cases and 22 deaths from over 294,800 tests. It has reported no new cases for 21 days.

Meanwhile, in Australia ... Australian rules football also resumes this weekend. Though Australia is not quite ready for full stadiums, 2,000 fans will be in the stands for a game between the Port Adelaide Power and the Adelaide Crows.

Go deeper: New Zealand is now free of coronavirus

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