The Crusaders second pre-season fixture against the Hurricanes will now be played in Christchurch, with the club confirming today it has made the difficult decision to cancel the event in Blenheim which was originally scheduled for Friday 11th February.
Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge said the substantial cost of delivering this fixture at a regional venue, paired with the current Omicron situation in New Zealand and the country’s move overnight to the red traffic light setting, means hosting the fixture at its current venue is now untenable.
“We have to plan logistics and provide certainty to a number of key stakeholders around our events, as well as doing all we can to minimise the financial risk to our club and those local partners who will be delivering and supporting the event,” Mr Mansbridge said.
“Yesterday’s Government announcement confirming a move to the red traffic light setting has reaffirmed that it is no longer practical for us to proceed with this particular match as scheduled in Blenheim, and we cannot deliver this game in front of a crowd. Instead, we will look to reschedule a game against the Hurricanes behind closed doors in Christchurch.
“It’s always a highlight of our pre-season to connect with fans in parts of the Crusaders region we don’t usually get to play, and this news will be especially disappointing for the people of Blenheim who were really looking forward to seeing the first Super Rugby game played at Lansdowne Park since 2016.
“I want to thank Lyndon and his team at Tasman Rugby for all of their support. Tasman Rugby has worked closely with our Crusaders events team and put a significant amount of time and energy into planning for this game, and while we know they are also disappointed, we’re grateful for their understanding during what is a difficult time,” Mr Mansbridge said.
Tickets already purchased for the pre-season match in Blenheim will be refunded, and fans are advised the Crusaders ticketing team will process these in the coming days.