Chiefs given all clear to leave Super Rugby bubble, other teams set to head home

Queenstown's Super Rugby bubble is about to burst.

The Chiefs will be the first to leave on Wednesday after their match against Moana Pasifika this weekend was called off due to the lingering affects of the Covid outbreak in the new team's squad.

Chiefs CEO Michael Collins said it made sense to get their squad home.

"We knew there was always an end date to when they would leave.

"With no game this weekend we thought best to try and get the team home to families to spend some time with them, which they haven't done in the past few weeks."

The Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said they will head back to Christchurch after Friday's game against the Highlanders in Dunedin, while the Hurricanes, Highlanders and Blues are also likely to head home after this weekend's round of games.

New Zealand Rugby were confident that match would go ahead, with optimism high Moana Pasifika would be ready to finally make their Super Rugby debut next week.

NZR head of tournaments and competitions Cameron Good said the game should be good to go.

"We had a group of players who had not tested positive for Covid, so they are back fully training now.

"What that extra week gives us is the opportunity for the medical team within Moana Pasifika, with support from New Zealand Rugby, to work through what the profile is of those who had tested positive.

"That weeks makes quite a difference with all the advice we've got around return to play."

After next week's match, though, there still remained the issue of rescheduling the two postponed matches against the Blues and Chiefs.

Good said work had begun on that, with midweek matches favoured given the All Blacks and Wallabies had incoming tours from Ireland and England, respectively, soon after the end of the Super Rugby season.

"Where we're focussed at the moment is looking at what's the best time and fairest time to reschedule those matches.

"We're not rushing to make that decision. In fairness to Moana Pasifika, we need to give them some time and space to play some games.

"We're working through those options now and looking at things like when byes are scheduled."

Meanwhile Collins admitted their return home would not be straightforward as Omicron cases continued to surge in New Zealand.

He expected Covid cases in the playing group was something all the New Zealand-based sides would have to deal with.

"Over the next six to 10 weeks we have to be really vigilant around our health and if we are feeling off we know we need to stay away.

"Unfortunately if a player picks it up, we're probably going to have to treat it like a torn hamstring and they'll be out of the environment for three or four weeks.

"[If] we look around the rest of the world in sports leagues, that's what's happening."