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Moana Pasifika to play two mid-week matches against Blues and Chiefs

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Andrew Cornaga/Photosport)

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Moana Pasifika’s two postponed Super Rugby Pacific matches against the Blues and Chiefs have been rescheduled to be played as mid-week fixtures.

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The new expansion franchise had their opening two games of the season postponed due to a Covid outbreak within their squad.

Both matches against the Blues and Chiefs were subsequently put on hold indefinitely, with New Zealand Rugby [NZR] confirming on Friday that dates have now been locked in for those fixtures to be played.

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As such, Moana Pasifika will face the Blues twice in round seven, firstly on Tuesday March 29 at Mt Smart Stadium, four days after their round six clash against the Hurricanes, and then on Saturday April 2 at Eden Park.

Moana Pasifika will then play the Chiefs twice in round nine, firstly on Tuesday April 12 at FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton, and then on Saturday 16 April at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland.

Due to their short turnaround, Moana Pasifika’s second match against the Chiefs has been rescheduled from its original date of Friday 15 April.

As a result, the round nine match between the Highlanders and Hurricanes at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, originally scheduled to be played on Saturday 16 April, will instead be play on Friday 15 April.

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“It was always our intention to reschedule the matches and it’s a great result for the integrity of the competition,” NZR general manager of professional rugby and performance Chris Lendrum said in a statement.

“Everyone wants to see every team play each other and it also means Moana Pasifika, the Chiefs, and their fans, have home fixtures to look forward to – hopefully with fans.”

“We acknowledge the short turnarounds are not ideal, but we believe we’ve reached the best possible outcome in terms of fairness and player welfare.

“The basic principle was to reschedule the matches in weeks where the Blues or Chiefs were already playing Moana Pasifika.  This means the teams will play each other twice in a week, but they will all have the same rest period between matches.”

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The announcement of Moana Pasifika’s rescheduled fixtures comes a day after their match against the Hurricanes on Saturday was postponed following an outbreak of Covid within the Wellington-based franchise.

Moana Pasifika have, thus far, played only one Super Rugby Pacific match after three rounds of the 2022 season, losing 33-12 to the Crusaders in their competition debut in Dunedin last Friday.

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