Moana Pasifika’s debut Super Rugby season was thrown into further disarray Thursday as their third match in four weeks was postponed because of Covid, this time an outbreak in an opposing team.
Moana’s first two matches were called off after the virus was detected among a number of their players and they finally made a belated competition bow last week in a 33-12 loss to Canterbury Crusaders.
But New Zealand Rugby (NZR) said the Auckland-based team would be sidelined again this weekend because their opponents Wellington Hurricanes had so many positive cases they could not field a side.
“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,” NZR general manager of professional rugby Chris Lendrum said.
After containing coronavirus for much of the pandemic, New Zealand is experiencing a wave of Omicron-variant infections, with more than 21,000 new cases reported on Thursday.
“I guess it shows how widely Covid is affecting people right now,” Hurricanes chief executive Avan Lee said.
NZR said Moana’s match against the Hurricanes would be rescheduled, along with the other postponed fixtures against Auckland Blues and Waikato Chiefs.
Moana, made up largely of players from Samoa and Tonga, were introduced with the Fijian Drua to a revamped Super Rugby competition this year in a bid to give Pacific island players professional opportunities close to home.