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COVID-19 hits Super Rugby's 'Super Round' with match postponement

COVID-19 hits Super Rugby's 'Super Round' with match postponement

Rugby Union - Autumn International - Ireland v New Zealand - Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Republic of Ireland - Nov 13, 2021. General view of rugby balls before the match. (File photo: REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne)

SYDNEY : The inaugural "Super Round" of Super Rugby in Melbourne this weekend was dealt a blow on Wednesday (Apr 20) when the match between Western Force and Moana Pasifika was called off because of an outbreak of COVID-19.

All six of the round 10 matches in the competition were scheduled to take place at Melbourne's Rectangular Stadium over the weekend, but a rash of COVID-19 cases in the Force squad has led to the postponement of Friday's second fixture.

"The Super Rugby Pacific tournament is very disappointed to have to postpone another game this season and for it to be impossible to play all six contemplated matches as part of this weekend's Super Round," organisers said in a statement.

"Every effort was made to try to ensure this game could go ahead, but with a large contingent of the Western Force squad unavailable, it simply wasn't feasible."

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc with the southern hemisphere provincial competition, effectively bringing an end to the transcontinental Super Rugby competition which also involved South Africa and Argentina.

Plans for a fully integrated competition this season between New Zealand and Australian teams, as well as two new franchises representing the Pacific islands, were also impacted by travel restrictions arising from the pandemic.

Round 10 will be the first time this season when the New Zealand teams and Australia-based sides will compete against each other in trans-Tasman Sea clashes.

Moana Pasifika have already had a heavily disrupted inaugural season with three of their previous matches also postponed because of COVID-19 outbreaks, initially in their squad and then in that of the Wellington Hurricanes.

The match against the Force will be rescheduled at a later date, SANZAAR said.

Source: Reuters/fh

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