Following the recent COVID-19 lockdown of South-East Queensland and subsequent restrictions in place, the Queensland Rugby Union has announced a revised Hospital Challenge Cup and Queensland Premier Rugby 2021 Finals Series.
After consultation with all nine Premier Rugby clubs, the QRU Board, Rugby Australia, Nine Entertainment Company (NEC) and other Rugby stakeholders, the QRU can confirm the scheduled preliminary finals, which usually take place following the semi-finals in a three week finals format, will be cancelled with an updated two-week series to now take place consisting of two elimination semi-finals played between the top-four teams of all nine grades, followed by a Grand Final with the winners of each semi-final the following weekend.
The semi-final format will change to see the first placed team in each grade play the fourth placed finalist, while the second and third placed teams will play each other in elimination matches.
Following the resumption of community sport at 4:00pm on Sunday 22 August as per the Queensland Government’s COVID Roadmap to easing restrictions across the 11 South-East Queensland Local Government Areas (LGAs) affected by the recent lockdown, the revised semi-finals are now scheduled to be played across two days at Norths and GPS Rugby Clubs on the weekend of 28 and 29 August.
The respective Grand Finals are then scheduled to be played the following weekend with Sunnybank hosting the decider for Colts 3, Colts 2, Fifth Grade, Fourth
Grade, Third Grade and Second Grade on Saturday 4 September, while the Women’s, Colts 1 and Premier Grade Finals will be played on Sunday 5 September at Suncorp Stadium.
General Manager of Community Rugby Gaven Head said: “With the latest COVID lockdown and restrictions in South-East Queensland, there are many organisations that are dealing with similar situations to us and we’re striving to make decisions that are fair and equitable, while also keeping paramount the health and safety of our participants, members and the wider community.
“We’ve worked closely with our nine Premier Rugby clubs to reach this decision, and we must acknowledge the support of Stadiums Queensland, Nine Entertainment and Rugby Australia.
“We’re supportive of the Queensland Government’s approach to managing the most recent COVID threat in South-East Queensland and we will continue to abide by their health directions with the health and safety of our Rugby community our first priority.”
The revised strategy took into account both external and internal environmental reviews with Queensland Health restrictions and protocols, venue limitations and scheduling, broadcast requirements as well as consultation with Rugby Australia’s Chief Medical Officer on player welfare to ensure the principles of a fair and equitable decision, plus consistency and consideration of constraints were adopted.
In addition, the focus for the QRU when considering the competition and impact of COVID-19 was to ensure the health and safety of all people involved (players, staff, match officials, volunteers and spectators), plus the successful finish of the Queensland Premier Rugby competition with a 2021 Finals Series for all grades.
For Patrons who had already brought tickets for the Grand Finals that were due to take place at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday 28 August, tickets will still be valid for the revised date on the 5 September, however if you’re unable to attend, you will be able to refund your ticket. Ticketek will send out a communication to existing ticket holders.