The opening game of Super Rugby Pacific could be in doubt, with the Moana Pasifika and Blues teams forced into isolation in their team hotels in Queenstown.
Both squads have had a member of their teams identified as having potentially been exposed to Covid-19, and with the opening match of the competition – set to be played between the two teams – nine days away, it could be derailed if the squads have to observe an isolation period of 10 days.
A member of the Blues squad in Queenstown was identified as a possible close contact on Wednesday night, and he and his roommate have been separated from the rest of the team, with the team doctor conducting a PCR test to supplement the twice-weekly Rapid Antigen Tests all teams are receiving.
While Moana Pasifika's close contact is a member of the wider group and not in the Queenstown bubble with the clubs from around the country, the team are observing the protocols and quarantining while they await the results of the player's Covid test.
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"We always knew that, given just how transmissible Omicron is and how quickly it has swept the globe, it was a distinct possibility our teams could be affected, despite our efforts to relocate teams and the heightened protocols within our environments," New Zealand Rugby general manager of professional rugby and performance Chris Lendrum said.
"We are working with public health officials to ensure we are minimising any risk of infection within the Super Rugby bubble and within the local community."
A spokesperson for NZR said they expect to know more about the situation this afternoon, and that it is too early to say how this will impact the opening round.