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Covid-19 continues to ravage Super Rugby

Covid-19 outbreaks in the Blues, Highlanders, and Crusaders squads have forced a change in the schedule.

The only game that will be played this weekend is Moana Pasifika against the Chiefs at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland in Saturday night.

The original schedule had the Highlanders playing host to Moana Pasifika in Dunedin, the Blues playing the Crusaders in Christchurch, and the Hurricanes versus the Chiefs in Wellington.

Moana Pasifika have only played one game in their debut season so far - that was against the Crusaders earlier this month.

No matches have been cancelled and New Zealand Rugby remains confident the five postponed so far this season can be rescheduled.

The NZR's Cameron Good said several factors had led to the decision to schedule the Moana Pasifika - Chiefs game.

"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," he said.

This change also allows Moana Pasifika to catch up on their previously postponed 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.

"We are looking at the schedule and believe there are opportunities to play those (other postponed) matches without major disruption... and will announce details in due course."

The postponed matches requiring rescheduling are the Hurricanes v Moana Pasifika, Highlanders v Moana Pasifika, Hurricanes v Chiefs, and Crusaders v Blues.

Moana Pasifika's season opener against the Blues at Mt Smart Stadium has already been rescheduled for 29 March.

The government's decision to accelerate its plan to ease border restrictions has also been welcomed by the NZR.

Vaccinated Australians will now be welcome from April 13, and vaccinated travellers from other visa-waiver countries - such as the United Kingdom and the United States - from May 2.

"The easing of border restrictions allows New Zealand Rugby to plan with more certainty toward teams travelling into New Zealand later in the season, both for Super Rugby Pacific and for our international schedules," said Good.

"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."