NZ women's competition given go ahead for August

Check out this monstrous rugby stiff-arm from another dimension (0:21)

This rugby player applies a ferocious stiff-arm to the defender en route to a score. (0:21)

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) confirmed on Friday the women's national provincial championship would begin in August, ending concerns it might be cancelled because of COVID-19 cost cutting.

The Farah Palmer Cup, named after a former Blacks Ferns captain and current NZR board member, would start on Aug. 22. All 13 provincial teams involved last year had committed to the competition, NZR's head of women's rugby Cate Sexton said.

Rugby has been on hold in New Zealand since mid-March due to the pandemic.

"Notwithstanding the financial challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was always our intention to make sure we had a quality competition for our female players to compete in and we are really happy with this outcome," she added in a statement.

A men's competition involving the country's five Super Rugby teams will start on June 13.

NZR said earlier this year they faced significant financial pressure before the fallout from the coronavirus hit broadcast, commercial and ticket revenues.

Several leading women's rugby players, citing events in Australia, had voiced concern that NZR's silence on the future of the competition spelled trouble for the women's championship.

The Australian Rules women's league was cancelled after six rounds of matches, while the National Rugby League women's competition is still in doubt.

Cash-strapped Rugby Australia have also said they were reviewing their women's high performance programmes.