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Alert level changes allow crowds to return for Sunday smorgasbord of sports

Cricket, rugby and netball fans will once again be able to hit the stands to watch their favourite stars in action this Sunday with the majority of New Zealand moving to Alert Level 1 this weekend.

Kiera Austin of Australia is challenged by Sulu Fitzpatrick of New Zealand during the Constellation Cup International Test. Source: Getty

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced this afternoon at a Covid-19 press conference Auckland would move out of its Level 3 lockdown at 6am on Sunday, down to Level 2, while the rest of the country will return to Level 1.

The decision means professional sports will be able to have crowds once again after that 6am movement with no restrictions on gatherings at the lowest alert level.

The timing means the final T20 between the Black Caps and Australia, the T20 between New Zealand's women and England, the Super Rugby Aotearoa contest between the Crusaders and Hurricanes and the final Constellation Cup Test between the Silver Ferns and Australia on Sunday will all be open to the public.

The Black Caps play Australia at 12pm on Sunday in Wellington before the women play afterwards. 

Christchurch hosts both the Crusaders' clash with the Hurricanes and the Silver Ferns' final game with the Diamonds.

All three sports were forced to adjust their fixtures last week due to New Zealand's move up to level two after a community outbreak of Covid-19 in Auckland.

The Black Caps changed their final three matches to all take place in Wellington to create a mini-bubble for the two teams and reduce the chances of exposure. The Silver Ferns did the same in Christchurch for all four Constellation Cup Tests.

The Crusaders pushed back their Saturday game to Sunday in the hopes today's announcement would happen, meaning they will now be able to accrue significantly more money through ticket sales.

The move back to Level 2 in Auckland also means America's Cup action is back, albeit still restricted like the sailing was during the Prada Cup finals.

Level two means the America's Cup village will remain closed while other fanzones and key vantage points will not be fully used to discourage gatherings over 100 people.

The first day of America's Cup racing is scheduled for next Wednesday.