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Nervous wait for Super Rugby as trans-Tasman competition comes under threat from travel bubble pause

Parties invested in the upcoming trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition are stuck in a nervous wait after quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and New South Wales has been paused.

Mark Telea scores against the Hurricanes. Source: Getty

The New Zealand Government announced last night a 48-hour pause with the Australian state due to two community cases of Covid-19 – a husband and wife – being discovered in Sydney.

The timing is rough for Super Rugby with the trans-Tasman competition scheduled to begin next week.

Should the pause be extended, the Hurricanes are set to be the worst New Zealand side affected with their match against the Waratahs in Sydney almost impossible to pull off.

While the Hurricanes would be able to fly to Sydney, issues would arise when they tried to return to New Zealand if the pause persists.

The other trans-Tasman matches of the opening round see the Highlanders host the Reds in Dunedin and Crusaders welcome the Brumbies to Christchurch.

The Blues and Chiefs on the other hand travel to Australia, playing the Rebels and Force in Melbourne and Perth, respectively.

Last month, NZR head of professional rugby Chris Lendrum said contingencies have been put in place for Covid-19 cases emerging on either side of the Tasman.

“Obviously, we're hoping that the six-week tournament can go off without a hitch, but I think we've learnt enough over the last 12 months that it might not," Lendrum said last month.

“We wait for circumstances to arise, we know what contingencies we've got in our back pocket and we move when we need to.”

Super Rugby’s two domestic competitions – Aotearoa and AU – wrap up tomorrow with the Crusaders and Chiefs contesting the New Zealand final before the Reds and Brumbies play for the Australian title.