Crusaders move pre-season game from Blenheim to Christchurch in red setting

The Crusaders’ second pre-season fixture against the Hurricanes will now be played in Christchurch with the new red traffic light setting helping make it “untenable’’ to play in Blenheim.

Crusaders chief executive Colin Mansbridge confirmed on Monday morning that the match, originally scheduled for Blenheim’s Lansdowne Park on February 11, will be played “behind closed doors’’ in Christchurch.

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,” 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.