Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has called for the cancellation of the Blues vs Crusaders clash in Auckland on Sunday following the re-emergence of COVID-19 in New Zealand.
Auckland was moved into Alert Level 3 status on Wednesday after it was confirmed that there was community transmission in the city for the first time in over 100 days.
The remainder of the country was moved into Alert Level 2, with both restrictions to last until midnight Friday, although they are expected to be extended.
As a result, New Zealand Rugby is yet to confirm whether either of the two Super Rugby Aotearoa games this weekend – Highlanders vs Hurricanes in Dunedin and Blues vs Crusaders in Auckland – will go ahead.
A decision will be made on Friday evening after the Government make an announcement about the alert level restrictions.
The Blues having already stated that their highly-anticipated clash with the Crusaders will only be played under Level 1 or 2 restrictions.
All 43,236 available tickets have been sold for that match at Eden Park on Sunday, but Goff told Stuff that he would be “extraordinarily surprised” if that match was allowed to go ahead in front of a packed out stadium.
“I’d be extraordinarily surprised if they wanted a rugby game with 43,000 people to go ahead,” Goff said. “That wouldn’t be wise, in my opinion, they should defer that.”
The Blues have been forced to train individually in preparation for the match since going into lockdown on Wednesday.
Depending on whether the match gets the green light to go ahead, head coach Leon MacDonald won’t name his side for the final match of the Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign until 6pm on Friday.
The Highlanders, meanwhile, stand a more likely chance to host their match against the Hurricanes in Dunedin on Saturday under the current Level 2 restrictions, but can only do so in front of no more than 100 people inside the stadium.
Newshub reports that more than 15,000 tickets had been sold for that game.
Should the Blues be unable to play this weekend, a win for the Hurricanes would see them finish in second place on the competition standings, demoting the Aucklanders to a third-place finish.
The Crusaders wrapped up the Kiwi domestic title last week with a 32-22 win over the Highlanders in Christchurch.
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