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Sport in doubt as Covid-19 resurfaces in New Zealand

Super Rugby Aotearoa match between the Hurricanes and the Highlanders (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The final weekend of Super Rugby Aotearoa could be postponed due to new Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ordered Auckland into lockdown on August 11 after four cases of community transmission were confirmed in the city.

The move means Auckland will return to alert level three at midday today and the rest of the country will move to alert level two. The government later said alert level three would finish at midnight on Friday August 14.

Super Rugby Aotearoa’s Blues are set to play Crusaders at Eden Park in Auckland on August 16 in front of a sold-out crowd.

If Auckland stays at level three, the game would not be played. If the alert level is dropped to two, it could be played but without spectators in attendance.

The New Zealand Herald reports that the Blues released a statement saying a decision on whether the game will go ahead could be made tomorrow.

“The Blues along with fellow Super Rugby Aotearoa partners and NZR are currently assessing the impact of both the Blues-Crusaders and Highlanders-Hurricanes games with the move to Covid-19 Level 3 in Auckland and the rest of the country to Level 2,” the statement said.

Up until yesterday New Zealand has contained the spread of Covid-19 and has seen big crowds attend the Super Rugby matches.

The penultimate weekend of the ANZ Netball Premiership will also be affected this weekend, RNZ reported, with the Auckland derby between the Mystics and Stars on Friday night likely to be called off.

New Zealand Cricket officials, meanwhile, confirmed the West Indies, Pakistan, Australia and Bangladesh have all said they will tour New Zealand in the coming months, during the southern hemisphere summer.

Under the ICC’s Future Tours Programme, the West Indies will play three tests and three T20s; Pakistan will play two tests and three T20s; Bangladesh will play both one-day international and T20 series; and, in March 2021, Australia will play a three-match T20 series in the country.