Super Rugby: Blues to play 'game of three halves' with Crusaders, Chiefs

The Blues will get their final pre-season hit-out, with a 'game of three halves' against the Chiefs and Crusaders in Cambridge on Saturday.

The Auckland-based side was forced to cancel their scheduled match against the Crusaders at Eden Park on Saturday, due to uncertainty surrounding national COVID-19 alert levels.

But after Wednesday's news that the country would shift down a level, the defending champions and the Chiefs have come to the party to take on the Blues at the Hautapu Sportsground.

The game will kick-off at noon and will be closed to the public, with Chiefs chief executive Michael Collins stressing the need to play safe, given recent alert level changes.

"We are compelled to err on the side of caution and operate the match with Alert Level 2 restrictions," Collins says.

"Auckland is still in Level 2, it's a short drive down State Highway 1 to get here and we know this fixture would have attracted thousands of passionate fans, if we sold tickets to the public.

"But with the stadium unavailable and less than three days to turn this event around, we've decided to play it safe and prioritise fans attending matches when the Super Rugby season begins."

The Blues have continued their training in self-isolation at home during Auckland's three-day stay at Level 3 and coach Leon MacDonald has expressed his gratitude towards his fellow Kiwi sides for providing one final opportunity to improve their match fitness, before their opening match against the Hurricanes on February 27.

"Things were not looking good for us, as we have been unable to train as a team, so this is a real lifeline and vital, as we try to make up time before the start of the competition," says MacDonald.

"We are humbled by the support we have received from the clubs, especially for the Chiefs' offer to host us and for the Crusaders, who have been so supportive through this entire pre-season upheaval."

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