Update on Super Rugby Aotearoa's grand finale
NEWS: The Super Rugby Aotearoa match between the Blues and Crusaders which was due to be played at Auckland’s Eden Park on Sunday is officially off, confirmed New Zealand Rugby.
However, the good news for New Zealand fans is that Saturday’s Highlanders-Hurricanes match at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium will be played in front of no crowds and at an earlier time.
The news follows the outbreak of community transmission of Covid-19 in South Auckland plunged the Super City into lockdown on Wednesday and saw the rest of the country enter Level 2.
The NZR released an official statement which read: “The Blues-Crusaders match scheduled for Sunday, August 16 in Auckland now cannot take place. From a competition points point of view, the match is now considered a draw and both teams will be awarded two points.
“The Highlanders-Hurricanes match at Forsyth Barr Stadium tomorrow, Saturday, August 15, will be played under Level 2 restrictions and in front of no crowds.
“The kick-off time for the Highlanders-Hurricanes match has been moved forward from 19.05 to 15.05 (local time). This is because under New Zealand Rugby Level 2 protocols agreed with Government, teams must fly in and out of cities hosting matches on the same day to limit public interaction. As a result, the Hurricanes and several match officials will take a charter flight to Dunedin tomorrow morning and return to Wellington on Saturday evening,”
NZR General Manager Professional Rugby & Performance Chris Lendrum said: “It’s fantastic that the Highlanders-Hurricanes game can go ahead as one final celebration of Super Rugby Aotearoa.
“On the flipside, we’re obviously disappointed that the Blues-Crusaders match is off, but we all understand and support the Government’s decision around this. Both teams have played outstanding rugby throughout the competition in front of packed crowds and, on behalf of New Zealand rugby, we want to thank all the fans for their support for not only those two teams, but all five of our Super teams. It’s been incredible.”
Cancelling the game could cost the Blues and New Zealand Rugby up to $1 million in lost revenue, according to NZ Herald the 43,236 tickets sold for Sunday’s match generates gate takings between $800,000 and $1 million, with net profit thought to be around the $450,000 to $500,000 range.
The game not going ahead means that Blues fans miss the chance to see Dan Carter in a Blues jersey in 2020, with Carter hoping to have made his debut against his former team.