March 16, 2022

Gallagher Chiefs will now face Moana Pasifika in RD 5

COVID outbreaks in the Blues, Highlanders, and Crusaders squads have forced New Zealand Rugby (NZR) to amend the DHL Super Rugby Pacific Round 5 schedule.

The Gallagher Chiefs will now play Moana Pasifika at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland at 7.05pm on Saturday night in what will be the only New Zealand-based DHL Super Rugby Pacific match this weekend.

No matches have been cancelled and NZR remains confident the four postponed matches this season can be rescheduled later in the competition. The original Round 5 schedule would have seen the Highlanders host Moana Pasifika in Dunedin, the Blues play the Crusaders in Christchurch, and the Hurricanes play the Gallagher Chiefs in Wellington.

Gallagher Chiefs Director of Rugby Warren Gatland said the squad had been affected by COVID but are confident with the team they will send to Mt Smart Stadium.

“We’ve been like everyone else, we’ve been affected by some COVID cases but we’re confident we can put out a really strong and competitive team this weekend to play and we’re looking forward to that.” said Gatland.

Gatland also acknowledged the depth in the squad and the competitiveness of training sessions is hugely positive.

“We’re really happy at the moment at how competitive our training sessions are which gives us a huge amount of confidence and depth in our squad.”

NZR Head of Tournaments and Competitions Cameron Good said several factors had factored into the decision to schedule the Moana Pasifika v Gallagher Chiefs match.

“Like many businesses around New Zealand we continue to deal with the disruptions of COVID on our people, and the health of the Blues, Highlanders and Crusaders players and staff was the key consideration in withdrawing those teams from this weekend’s matches.

“With three teams remaining we had to look at what was the best outcome for the competition and a key consideration was to ensure Moana Pasifika got back on the field again after having three matches postponed through the opening month of the season, which is exciting for the club and their fans. This change also allows Moana Pasifika to catch up on their previously postponed Round 2 match against the Chiefs.

“This has been a tough call on the Hurricanes who had initially been scheduled to play the Chiefs and I would like to acknowledge the Hurricanes for their understanding and cooperation in putting the competition first”

NZR was confident four postponed DHL Super Rugby Pacific matches could be rescheduled, Good said.

“We are looking at the schedule and believe there are opportunities to play those matches without major disruption to the draw and will announce details in due course.”

The postponed matches requiring rescheduling are Hurricanes v Moana Pasifika from Round 4, Highlanders v Moana Pasifika from Round 5, Hurricanes v Gallagher Chiefs from Round 5, and Crusaders v Blues from Round 5.

Good also noted that the Government’s border announcement today was a welcome boost to DHL Super Rugby Pacific.

“The easing of border restrictions allows New Zealand Rugby to plan with more certainty toward our teams traveling into the country later in the season, both for DHL Super Rugby Pacific and for our international schedules.

“We are looking forward to our Super Rugby Pacific teams heading across the Tasman in April to play the Australian teams, notably for the Super Round in Melbourne over ANZAC weekend, and also welcoming the Australian teams to New Zealand in May.”

Gallagher Chiefs will now face Moana Pasifika in RD 5