1 NEWS can reveal why hosting the Women's Rugby World Cup this year became a logistical nightmare too difficult for organisers.
The tournament aimed to be the greatest ever, but Covid-19 risks, along with what's perceived by some organisers as a lack of Government support, meant it had to be postponed until next year — when restrictions will have hopefully been eased.
World Rugby recommended this morning the competition be delayed 12 months for multiple reasons, the first of which is the pandemic.
However, 1 NEWS understands another reason for the postponement was because organisers here struggled with the idea of footing the bill for up to 700 people in managed isolation, which adds up to around $2 million.
Also, the Government refused to help out by setting up training facilities in managed isolation, which would’ve been a serious issue for all competing nations.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said it would have been “very challenging” to pull off.
“We were working with them to see if we could find ways to overcome those challenges," he said. "Those conversations were ongoing.
“We were looking at a variety of different options. In the end we won't need to do that now.”
Organisers did agree, though, that no one could guarantee over 600 international visitors in the form of players and staff from competing nations wouldn’t be infected, which could risk the tournament having to somehow adjust if an entire squad had to go home.
There was also the costs of the event, which have skyrocketed during the pandemic and despite World Rugby even stepping in to pay for team travel, it still wasn't enough to let the tournament go ahead.
Dame Julie Christie, chair of the tournament’s organising committee, told 1 NEWS costs were to be covered by multiple parties had it gone ahead.
“World Rugby, New Zealand Rugby and the New Zealand Government together,” she said.
But the biggest reason for the postponement is that a World Cup has to inspire and a potential lockdown could ruin everything – something Women’s Cricket World Cup CEO Andrea Nelson knows all about after moving her event to 2022 as well.
“We understand what a postponement's like — we've been through it ourselves. But I guess what I'd say is that extra year has given us an amazing opportunity,” she said.
“I just think 2022 is gonna be a great year for women's sport and it just got better by one event.”
Dame Julie was just as positive.
“It's been about empowering women and girls and supercharging the game and just showing women's rugby has arrived.”