Moana Pasifika's Super Rugby Pacific game against the Chiefs this weekend has been postponed because of player welfare concerns.
The first cohort of Moana Pasifika players and staff emerged from their Queenstown hotel yesterday after nearly 10 days of isolation following positive Covid-19 cases in the group.
The Super Rugby Pacific medical advisory group recommended that the match should be postponed as there was not sufficient time for the squad, specifically those who are recovering from Covid-19, to adequately prepare for their first match on Sunday.
The postponement further delays Moana Pasifika's historic entry to the competition after their Round 1 match against the Blues was also postponed after a number of players tested positive for Covid-19.
NZR head of tournaments and competitions Cameron Good said postponement was the only responsible decision.
"Everyone wants to see Moana Pasifika out on the field, and we explored every possibility to make that happen this weekend including pushing the Chiefs match out two days to Sunday.
"However, we were not willing to compromise player safety and wellbeing, so in the end this was an easy decision. We remain committed to re-scheduling both of the postponed matches involving Moana Pasifika."
Chiefs Rugby Club chief executive Michael Collins is looking forward to the new fixture date to be played at Waikato Stadium.
"We explored every possibility to try and get this match played including moving it to Sunday. Ultimately, none of the alternatives that we investigated did not potentially compromise the health and wellbeing of Moana Pasifika players, so in the end it was a straightforward decision.
"We look forward to confirming a new date for this fixture in the near future. It's great news that we will host this match at FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton," Collins said.
There is a chance that the teams may leave their bases in Queenstown early and return home.
"We always said that the longest the teams would stay in Queenstown was through until the completion of round three, but we would continue to review the situation," Good said.
"With the government having moved to phase two of the Omicron response it is now likely that some teams will return home after their round two matches this weekend, but we are still working with the clubs to confirm this."