The final game of Super Rugby Aotearoa between Crusaders and Blues has been called-off following the resurgence of Covid-19 cases in Auckland.
Auckland had reported 17 new cases on Thursday and the government had already imposed a lock down in the city until Friday along with Level 3 restrictions which now has been extended for another 12 days as announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
The game had already close to 43,000 tickets sold but now the fans could not witness the high-profile clash due to the fresh cases of the coronavirus. Earlier, Blues confirmed that the match will be hosted if the restrictions reduce to Level 2 or Level 1.
Meanwhile, the game between Highlanders and Hurricanes went ahead with a revised kick-off time of 3pm without fans at Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium
"It's fantastic that the Highlanders-Hurricanes game can go ahead as one final celebration of Super Rugby Aotearoa," says NZ Rugby professional rugby & performance general manager Chris Lendrum.
"On the flipside, we've 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."
Blues CEO Andrew Hore expressed disappointment on the news but was pleased with how the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition went over the last nine weeks despite tough situation prevailing across the world.
“Ten weeks ago we never thought we’d even have a competition, let alone one with fans. But instead we got nine weeks of incredible rugby, with three amazing home games and massive crowds.
"While this news is disappointing, we need to take a step back and be grateful for what we got, what it meant to our players, our sponsors and, most importantly, to our fans.”
Crusaders had already won the Super Rugby Aotearoa title following the 32-22 win over Highlanders in the ninth round.