Captain of the Nelson College U14 team Harrison Inch has had his first overseas rugby trip cancelled due to the coronavirus. Photo: Jonty Dine

Coronavirus cause school havoc


The dream of playing in a curtain-raiser to the All Black Sevens has been ripped away from a team of young Nelson College rugby players, at least for now.

With the ongoing threat of coronavirus, the decision was made to cancel the Nelson College U14 team’s trip to Singapore.

Captain Harrison Inch is one of 24 heartbroken players who had done everything from park cars to chop wood in order to fund the trip.

“It’s pretty annoying, everyone’s pretty gutted but we are going to stick at it, keep training.”

Rugby director Peter Grigg says the trip was planned for April 4-12 and would have culminated in the Ruck ‘n Rumble tournament, which would see the final precede the Singapore Sevens.

But with schools in Singapore banning students from playing rugby and the cancellation of the Singapore Sevens, the decision to cancel was essentially made for the touring party.

“We didn’t have much of a choice,” says Peter.

However, not all hope is lost as the trip may potentially be rescheduled for later in the year.

There are, of course, a number of logistical issues to make that possible.

Peter says a number of deposits had been paid for accommodation which will hopefully transfer.

Flights were also booked and the more than 50 parents in the travelling party had arranged time off work.

“Air New Zealand have been difficult to deal with. There is going to be a transfer fee.”

Harrison says he and his teammates have their fingers firmly crossed for later in the year

“It will be a shame if the opportunity is missed but we are still very hopeful,” Peter says.

The boys raised more than $20,000 working over the holidays, including splitting and selling wood.

“It was a lot of hard work but hopefully it will be worth it.”

Elsewhere, other colleges are feeling the impact of the coronavirus, too.

Nayland College principal Daniel Wilson says one international student was quarantined in Hong Kong and one domestic student was also quarantined as a family member had recently been in China.

“Both have been given the all clear.”

Nelson College for Girls principal Cathy Ewing says they have a school trip to Japan scheduled for later in the year but hope that the situation would have resolved by then.

“We have only one international student affected. She has not been able to leave China because of the New Zealand Government’s action to protect our borders.”