COVID-19 hits NZ sport: Blackcaps double-header shifts to Wellington, Crusaders v Hurricanes delayed

  • Updated
  • 01/03/2021

NZ sporting bodies have been scrambling to ensure their events can continue under the current national alert level. Here are some of the recent changes.

Tauranga Blackcaps, White Ferns double-header relocated to Wellington

The final Twenty20 international double-header featuring the Blackcaps against Australia and the White Ferns against England scheduled for Tauranga's Bay Oval on March 7, will now be played in Wellington.

The move to Sky Stadium has been forced because of logistical complications arising from the transfer of Friday’s second double-header from Auckland to Wellington, says NZ Cricket.

The current alert level 2 protocols in Wellington mean all three double-headers – on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, will be played behind closed doors.

Tickets purchased for matches affected by alert level restrictions will automatically receive full refunds.

All four of the Blackcaps' Auckland contingent - Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Philips, Martin Guptill, and Mark Chapman - missed Monday's training session while they await the result of their COVID-19 tests.

Crusaders v Hurricanes rescheduled

The game will now be played on Sunday afternoon.
The game will now be played on Sunday afternoon. Photo credit: Getty

NZ Rugby has announced that the match between the Crusaders and Hurricanes in Christchurch will be delayed until Sunday to allow fans to attend.

Originally scheduled for a 7pm kick-off on Saturday, March 6, the game will now take place Sunday, March 7 at 4:35pm.

"Nobody wants to play in an empty stadium and the opportunity to move the match 24 hours seems like the right thing to do for the Crusaders, their fans, and their players," says NZ Rugby's head of professional rugby and performance Chris Lendrum.

Consideration had also been given to moving the Chiefs' Friday home game against the Highlanders to Sunday afternoon.

But it was ultimately agreed that only one of the two matches could be moved and that Christchurch was the preference.

"Our fans mean a lot to our club and to our players and if there was an opportunity to have our community there for our first home match of the season then we were always going to take it," says Crusaders chief executive Colin Mansbridge.

Chiefs chief executive Michael Collins sympathised with NZ Rugby's position.

"It’s a tricky situation, but when it comes to COVID-19 we are all committed to doing the right thing and taking a zero-risk approach to the health and safety of our fans, which means no crowds at level 2," says Collins.

"We looked closely at the possibility of playing on Sunday, but in the end we understood the rationale for only moving one match."

Constellation Cup moves completely to Christchurch

All four tests will be played at Christchurch Arena.
All four tests will be played at Christchurch Arena. Photo credit: Getty

All four tests in the Silver Ferns' annual series against Australia will now take place in Christchurch.

The Silver Ferns and Diamonds will meet at Christchurch Arena on March 2 and March 3 as scheduled.

The two tests to be played in Tauranga on March 6 and march 7 will now also take place at Christchurch Arena to minimise travel. 

"We are hugely disappointed for our netball fans who were looking forward to seeing the world champion Silver Ferns take on their biggest rivals," says Netball NZ chief executive Jennie Wyllie.

"Our sporting landscape has changed and we must adapt and change with it. However, the priority for us will however always be the safety and wellbeing of the athletes, fans and all of those involved in the Cadbury Netball Series." 

Join us for live updates of Crsuaders v Hurricanes, as well as all matches in the Blackcaps v Australia, White Ferns v England, and Constellation Cup series