Super Rugby Aotearoa: Auckland Mayor Phil Goff calls for Blues v Crusaders game to be cancelled, as decision looms

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff wants Sunday's blockbuster Super Rugby Aotearoa clash between the Blues and Crusaders at Eden Park to be called off. 

In an attempt to stem the spread of a new COVID-19 cluster, Auckland has moved to Alert Level 3, with the rest of the country at Level 2. 

These restrictions will last until at least midnight Friday, but are likely to be extended, with 13 confirmed new cases within the Auckland 'Super City' region. 

NZ Rugby is awaiting further Government guidance, before making a call on whether the Blues v Crusaders and Highlanders v Hurricanes in Dunedin on Saturday can go ahead. 

A decision is expected on Friday evening, after the Government's announcement over alert level restrictions. 

The Blues have confirmed the match will only go ahead in levels 1 or 2. 

With 43,236 tickets snapped up, Sunday's match has sold out, but Eden Park has been turned into Auckland's latest COVID testing station, relocated from Eden Terrace, after long drive-through queues stretched more than a kilometre and people were turned away. 

"I'd be extraordinarily surprised if they wanted a rugby game with 43,000 people to go ahead," Goff told Stuff. "That wouldn't be wise, in my opinion, they should defer that."

Blues fans at Eden Park.
Blues fans at Eden Park. Photo credit: Getty

Current Level 3 restrictions have prevented the Blues from training, while the Crusaders wouldn't be allowed to enter the Auckland region if they stay in place over the weekend. 

The Blues won't name their team to face the Crusaders until 6pm, and that depends on if the match can go ahead. 

In Dunedin, the Highlanders v Hurricanes game can go ahead under Level 2, but with only 100 fans inside the stadium. More than 15,000 tickets have been sold for the match at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

If Dunedin moves to Level 3, Highlanders chief executive Roger Clark says the game would be cancelled. 

"We have a game here in Dunedin, which at this stage is going ahead," says Clark. 

"At the moment, the restriction will be that there will be no crowd [on Saturday], so the safety we will be looking at is our players.

"It's down to the Government and the level we are at, because that determines what we can and cannot do, so we won't hear before then.

"We'll hear at the same time as everyone else - we'll be glued to the TV tomorrow.

"At Level 1, we'll play with a crowd and anything above that, we'll either have no crowd or no game."

The Crusaders secured the Super Rugby Aotearoa title last weekend, with victory over the Highlanders. 

The only teams that can change spots on the standings are the Blues and Hurricanes, who are battling for second and third. 

Join us for live updates of this weekend's Super Rugby Aotearoa games