Crowds a real possibility for round one of Super Rugby Aotearoa as NZ continues to recover

Super Rugby Aotearoa could have crowds from day one.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today told the Mike Hosking Breakfast on Newstalk ZB that New Zealand would most likely move to level one on June 10.

The Super Rugby Aotearoa competition kicks off three days later when the Highlanders host the Chiefs in Dunedin. The following day the Blues and Hurricanes clash at Eden Park.

Crusaders boss Colin Mansbridge told Hosking the original guidelines at that level had no restrictions on gatherings and plans were in place to have crowds for home games.

“In the current rules that were issued as we started going into lockdown, it didn’t say anything about crowd limitation in level one. I think she [Ardern] has to clarify with cabinet what they are going to be.

“On the assumption that it’s the same as what was issued previously, we’ve sort of done some planning as if we are going to have crowds,” Mansbridge told Hosking.

The Crusaders have more time on their hands than the other four New Zealand franchises as they don’t host their first home game until June 28.

Mansbridge said changes would have to be made such as the ticketing process where every person seated at the game would need to provide their contact details – while special awareness will have to be considered.

“I think once the gates are open, you might find the first game or two, assuming there’s not too much anxiety in the community, that people will want to turn up and maybe the will want to sit close next to people.”

Hurricanes assistant coach Cory Jane told Newstalk ZB it would be great to play in front of loyal fans who are been through time.

“To give back to people who have supported us and obviously we’ve been through a tough time where a lot of people, sponsors and members, have paid but have missed out on a lot of rugby and Super Rugby. It gives them a chance, the ones who have stuck with us and been loyal and supported us, gives an opportunity for them to get to the ground and watch some games. That’s something we’ll look forward to. Hopefully we can go on and play well and win this competition for a lot of people that have suffered and missed out,” Jane said.