23 Jul 2009

Okara Park won't host Northland's opening ANZ Cup match

1:24 pm on 23 July 2009

Northland's opening Air New Zealand Cup rugby match won't be played at Okara Park in Whangarei after it was decided the ground wasn't up to standard.

Instead Northland's home match against Taranaki will be played at North Harbour Stadium.

NZRU General Manager Professional Rugby Neil Sorensen says colder and wetter than normal winter conditions contributed to Okara Park's poor development of a suitable turf to play on.

NRU Chairman Andrew Golightly said although hugely disappointed, moving the fixture was the right decision for Northland.

Golightly says while the surface is suitable for general play it doesn't hold up under pressure from scrummaging and that's where player safety comes into play and they're not prepared to put that at risk.

They hope to host Otago on August 28th.