New Zealand Rugby has confirmed it would be comfortable to cancel one of the fixtures in the last round of Super Rugby Aotearoa amid a coronavirus outbreak.
Auckland went into lockdown on alert level 3 on Wednesday and the rest of the country on alert level 2, which permits gatherings of up to 100 people and would allow a game, albeit closed to spectators.
As it stands under the respective Covid-19 alert levels, Saturday’s Highlanders vs Hurricanes match at Forsyth Barr can be played in an empty stadium while the Blues’ match against the Crusaders the following day would be off.
New Zealand Rugby is comfortable with Dunedin’s Super Rugby Aotearoa match proceeding on Saturday night, even if they have to cancel the sold-out finale at Auckland’s Eden Park.
NZR general manager professional rugby Chris Lendrum said playing one but not the other would be acceptable, but they were awaiting the government’s update on alert levels on Friday before making a decision. It seems unlikely, but a shift to level 2 in Auckland is the only way Sunday’s match will happen.
‘The position is, under alert level 3, the city [Auckland] is closed down. In essence, certainly for rugby, yes,’ Lendrum said.
‘There are many contingencies and options on the table and the split alert level adds a different complexion to things,’ he explained.
‘It is possible that could happen, a game in Dunedin but not a game in Auckland. We’ll see what hand the government deals us, we trust their advice and we’ll follow it.’
All four Super Rugby sides with matches this weekend stood down from training on Wednesday, Lendrum said, as NZR explored its options.
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