All sorts of new challenges are ahead in the coming days for New Zealand’s Super Rugby teams with the first round of the trans-Tasman competition taking some sides across the ditch for the first time in over a year.
Blues manager Richard Fry told 1 NEWS there’s plenty to tick off before his side venture to Melbourne to face the Rebels this weekend.
“It's a little bit of the unknown for us,” he said.
“Different travel permits, declarations - we don’t get any special treatment.”
There will also be regular temperature checks, masks and an extra player allowed on the plane on Thursday as cover before the team enters a strict bubble in Melbourne.
“There's a number of scenarios that could happen,” Fry said.
“There is a possibility we could be locked down.”
The Blues have been there before though, a few months back they were stuck in Wellington, locked out of Auckland after their home city entered a sudden Alert Level 3 lockdown.
Fry said that experience has helped them prepare.
“We might just pack a little bit more this time.”
In Wellington, the Hurricanes will try their luck first in the new travel freedom, flying out tomorrow to play New South Wales in Sydney.
Assistant coach Tyler Bleyendaal said there’s a different energy in camp this week.
“There are going be some new challenges, especially for some young guys which haven't travelled to Aussie for Super Rugby and haven't played an Aussie team,” he said.
Further south in title town, sunscreen was being applied in Christchurch today as the champion Crusaders sweated out any post-final creases in 25 degree heat.
They host beaten Aussie finalists, the Brumbies, just seven days after their latest triumph, but assistant coach Andrew Goodman said they’re not letting their fifth-straight crown go to their head.