Covid outbreak hits Blues ahead of Super Rugby Pacific match against Highlanders

The Blues are said to be dealing with a Covid outbreak ahead of their Friday night match against the Highlanders.

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The Blues are said to be dealing with a Covid outbreak ahead of their Friday night match against the Highlanders.

The Blues are doing their level-best to take an eleventh-hour Covid-19 outbreak in their stride.

The Auckland-based outfit confirmed they are the latest Kiwi Super Rugby Pacific team dealing with a bout of Covid-19 in their camp, with a number of players testing positive ahead of their Friday night clash against the Highlanders in Albany.

However the match will go ahead, with the outbreak considered to be manageable and the home lineup able to be reshuffled.

“The Blues confirm that a small number of players in the squad have tested positive for Covid,” the franchise said via a statement. “They are self-isolating and the remainder of the squad will continue with the strict protocols, including regular testing.”

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The club said that while they had been extremely vigilant around health protocols, “as the other Super clubs have found, the Omicron variant can infiltrate the team”.

A Blues spokesman confirmed some changes would be required to the playing squad for Friday night’s game against the Highlanders (7.05pm kickoff) at North Harbor Stadium.

Early reports indicated that the franchise had at least one player test positive on Thursday evening and by Friday several other cases had been detected. The Highlanders themselves also had to deal this week with “a couple” of positive tests, as well as complaints of inappropriate mask use on a recent flight.

Earlier in the week the Hurricanes had to withdraw from their Saturday clash against Moana Pasifika when a major outbreak, understood to have affected as many as 20 players, left them unable to field a side.

That match has been postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date.

The Blues have already seen their first-round clash against Moana Pasifika postponed because of a Covid outbreak in the opposition camp.

Moana Pasifika have rescheduled their first two postponed Super Rugby pacific matches.

Joe Allison/Getty Images

Moana Pasifika have rescheduled their first two postponed Super Rugby pacific matches.

That clash has now been rescheduled for Tuesday, March 29, at Mount Smart Stadium, with a 7.05pm kickoff. Four days later the two sides will meet again in the scheduled round 7 game at Eden Park (7.05pm).

Moana Pasifika have been massively affected by Covid, with the Hurricanes clash the expansion outfit’s third to be postponed already this season.

NZ Rugby confirmed on Friday the rescheduling of the first two of those, with Moana also to meet the Chiefs at FMG Stadium Waikato on Tuesday, April 12, in round 9.

This has also had a knock-on effect on the Highlanders’ round 9 home match against the Hurricanes in Dunedin, initially scheduled for Saturday, April 16, but now brought forward a day to the Friday to allow the scheduled Moana Pasifika-Chiefs match to move to Saturday, April 16.

The Blues, meanwhile, have confirmed the appointment of Chris Major as an independent director on their board. She is the third representative, and second female, appointed by new private ownership group, the Better Blues Company Limited.

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