Super Rugby Aotearoa

Blues-Crusaders game likely off due to coronavirus scare

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Crusaders flyhalf Richie Mounga on the charge against the Bues in Christchurch on 11 June 2020.
Crusaders flyhalf Richie Mounga on the charge against the Bues in Christchurch on 11 June 2020.
Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images
  • As it stands, Sunday's Super Rugby Aotearoa clash between the Blues and Crusaders in Auckland is off.
  • This follows New Zealand's move back to Covid-19 lockdown level restrictions.
  • Saturday's Highlanders v Hurricanes match in Dunedin could be played with significant restrictions on crowd attendance.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) on Wednesday said it was continuing to work through the impact of government's Covid-19 announcement on this weekend's Super Rugby Aotearoa matches.

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Two matches are scheduled, with the Highlanders taking on the Hurricanes in Dunedin on Saturday (09:05 SA time) and the Blues hosting the Crusaders in Auckland on Sunday (05:35 SA time).

However, the matches are in jeopardy as the country moved back to Covid-19 lockdown level restrictions after four new coronavirus cases were confirmed within the same family in Auckland.

The Auckland region moved to Covid-19 Level 3 at midday (New Zealand time) on Wednesday, while the rest of the country is at Level 2, with the restrictions in place through until midnight on Friday, 14 August.

As it stands, with Auckland at Level 3, the Blues-Crusaders game could not be played, the NZR said in a statement.

It added that the Highlanders-Hurricanes game, at Level 2, could be played with significant restrictions on crowd attendance.

Chris Lendrum, the NZR's general manager for professional rugby and performance, commented: "All our decision-making will be guided by the government advice and so we will wait to see if there will be any changes to alert levels in Auckland and around the country for this weekend and beyond.

"We are all awaiting the next government update with interest. In the meantime, we are preparing prudent contingency plans around playing the Highlanders-Hurricanes game with significant crowd restrictions. As mentioned, we will also await further government updates and the potential impact on the Blues-Crusaders match.

"We know that there is a lot of anxiety and uncertainty and we thank everyone, particularly ticket holders, for their understanding and patience as we work through these complex and fast-moving issues."

The NZR added that any further updates and changes to the matches would be communicated to ticket holders and franchise members in due course.

The Crusaders have already secured the Super Rugby Aotearoa title after a 32-22 win over the Highlanders in Christchurch over the weekend.

- Compiled by Sport24 staff