Super Rugby Pacific: COVID-19 outbreak forces postponement of Hurricanes' clash with Moana Pasifika

  • 10/03/2022

The Hurricanes' Super Rugby Pacific clash with Moana Pasifika at Wellington on Saturday has been postponed due to the effects of COVID-19 on the home team's player pool.

On Monday, the Hurricanes revealed they'd had an outbreak within the team. Despite initial optimism they'd still be able to proceed this weekend, they have been able to field a full gameday squad, consigning Moana Pasifika to the third postponed match of their inaugural season.

After the Hurricanes' 21-14 win over the Highlanders on Saturday, captain Ardie Savea mentioned COVID-19 had disrupted the team's build-up to the game. Hooker Asafo Aumua was a late withdrawal for the match with an illness, although it wasn't confirmed as a case of coronavirus.

Hurricanes Poua had to withdraw from their scheduled Super Rugby Aupiki opener on Thursday for the same reasons.

"We were obviously gutted for our women's (Poua) Super Rugby squad when they had to pull out of their inaugural match and now our men’s team are dealing with their own disappointment, so I guess it shows how widely COVID is affecting people right now," says Hurricanes chief executive Avan Lee.

"We are also disappointed for Moana Pasifika who have already had to deal with this situation twice this season. We'd like to thank them for their understanding, and we look forward to meeting them later in the season."

NZR general manager professional rugby and performance Chris Lendrum says it's disappointing for both teams, but particularly Moana Pasifika, who will have taken the field just once through four rounds.

"Every effort was made to play this match but despite looking at replacement player options the number of players affected by COVID was simply too great to overcome and the right decision has been reached," says Lendrum.

"We are supporting the Hurricanes as much as we can as they deal with a large number of players being unavailable, while it is obviously disappointing for Moana Pasifika who were itching to play again after finally getting their season underway last week."

Moana Pasifika chief executive Pelenato Sakalia says: "Dealing with COVID is extremely complicated and it is important that the focus shifts to the health and well-being of the Hurricanes team. 

"Under the circumstances postponing the game is the right decision and Moana Pasifika wishes the Hurricanes team a speedy recovery and look forward to meeting on the field soon."