FILE PHOTO: A general view shows empty stands during a fanless National Rugby League (NRL) game between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Sydney Roosters during the 2020 season following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak at Bankwest Stadium resumes in Sydney, Australia, May 29, 2020. REUTERS / Loren Elliott
SYDNEY: New Zealand’s decision to postpone the reopening of its border has required a revision of the schedule for the first Super Rugby Pacific season, with the competition was split into two parts for the first eight weeks.
The six New Zealand teams, including the Moana Pasifika team, will compete on the east side of the Tasman Sea, while Fijian Drua and the five Australian teams will face each other on the west coast.
Non-quarantine trips between countries, which should start on January 16, were postponed by the New Zealand government on Tuesday in response to the spread of the new Coronavirus variant Omicron.
Quarantine requests made the scheduled start of the 18-week season with a clash between Moana Pasifika and Australia’s ACT Brumbies in Auckland on February 18 impossible.
Moana Pasifika will play the Auckland Blues in the season opener at Mount Smart Stadium on the same day, while the New South Wales Waratahs will face Fijian Drua in their first game in Australia later that evening.
The magic round, in which all 12 teams play their games in Melbourne, has been postponed from week two of the season to week 10 in late April.
“We believe these changes will allow us to continue the Overcoming challenges from COVID-19 while ensuring we maintain the integrity of the draw and the format of the new Super Rugby Pacific competition, “said Andy Marinos, Chief Executive of Rugby Australia.
To become Moana Pasifika and Fijian Drua Be among the 10 Australasian teams for the first time next year in a competition launched to replace the championship prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which also included teams from South Africa, Argentina and Japan.
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