The Chiefs have come to the Blues’ rescue with an offer to host a game-of-three-halves also involving the Crusaders this weekend ahead of the upcoming Super Rugby Aotearoa competition.
The Blues were forced to cancel Saturday's “footy festival” with the Crusaders at Eden Park earlier this week after Auckland was put in a Level 3 lockdown due to community Covid cases discovered in the city.
The lockdown also meant the Blues’ training programme was affected, with players forced to train at home in their bubbles, therefore missing out on crucial contact practise with the season less than a fortnight away.
However, the Chiefs announced this morning they have arranged to host both the Blues and Crusaders this Saturday in Cambridge.
Auckland's restrictions were eased today.
Blues coach Leon MacDonald said he was thankful for the support of the other Super Rugby teams during a testing time.
”Things were not looking good for us as we have been unable to train as a team, so this is a real lifeline and vital as we try to make up time before the start of the competition,” MacDonald said.
“We are humbled by the support we have received from the clubs, especially for the Chiefs’ offer to host us and for the Crusaders who have been so supportive through this entire pre-season upheaval.”
Fans will not be able to attend the game with the Chiefs deciding to operate the match under Level 2 protocols for safety reasons but the noon match will be televised on Sky Sport, Chiefs CEO Michael Collins said.
“Auckland is still in Level 2, it’s a short drive down State Highway 1 to get here and we know this fixture would have attracted thousands of passionate fans if we sold tickets to the public," Collins said.
“With the stadium unavailable and less than three days to turn this event around, we’ve decided to play it safe and prioritise fans attending matches when the 2021 Super Rugby Season begins.”
Teams for the fixture will be named tomorrow.