Moana Pasifika's Super Rugby matches rescheduled
NEWS: Super Rugby new boys Moana Pasifika will twice have turnarounds of only four days between fixtures in late March and early April after two of their matches, postponed because of an outbreak of COVID-19 in their squad, were rescheduled on Friday.
The Auckland-based team, established to give representation to the Pacific island nations, has managed to complete just one fixture so far in their maiden season.
What was supposed to be a blockbuster season-opener against the Blues at Mount Smart Stadium has now been rearranged for Tuesday, March 29, four days before the return match across the city at Eden Park.
They will then get a bye week to recharge before facing the Chiefs in the rescheduled Round Two match in Hamilton on Tuesday April 12 with the return match in Auckland on the following Saturday.
Their round four match, scheduled for Saturday, was also postponed after an outbreak of COVID-19 left the Hurricanes unable to field a 23-man matchday squad. That match has not yet been rescheduled.
“Moana Pasifika have been desperately unlucky with a third postponed match against the Hurricanes this weekend, but that’s COVID,” said New Zealand Rugby’s Chris Lendrum said in a statement.
“I can only applaud the club for the way they have dealt with adversity, and I think that character showed when they took the field for the first time last week.”
Moana Pasifika scored the opening try and put in a creditable performance before going down 12-33 to 10-times Super Rugby champions the Crusaders last weekend.
The rescheduling of the fixtures has also resulted in the week seven match between the Hurricanes and the Highlanders in Dunedin being brought forward by a day to April 15.
The Blues have said they will proceed with their fixture against the Highlanders at Albany on Friday despite a “small number” of COVID-19 cases in their squad.