The New Zealand teams have shifted to Queenstown to try and negate the threat of Covid-19 interrupting the competition, but with no floodlit grounds on offer, night games – which are favourable for broadcasters – have to be played out of town.
Initially they were going to be played at Rugby Park in Invercargill, but one day after that news, New Zealand Rugby announced they would instead be played at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium, as they said the facilities there, including the roof, made it the teams’ favoured option.
However, speaking ahead of his side’s season-opener against the Crusaders on Saturday night, Savea noted there were some player welfare concerns with the extra 80 minutes or so that has been added on to what was already going to be extended trips to the ground.
“It’s not ideal, being on a bus for four hours, then having to play a professional rugby game, against a quality side – you think of the health and safety there,” he said.
“We’re trusting our trainers to just try and come up with something that will help us prep well. I think all the teams will be in the same situation.
“But we’ve got guys coming back from long-term injuries, and they're quite nervous sitting on a bus for four hours and then having to play their first game.
“Hopefully with all this Covid stuff we’re able to go back home and play instead of driving four hours to play a match.”
Having to head straight back to their Queenstown bubbles after the 7.05pm fixtures, it will make for an approximately eight-hour round-trip on game day, with teams not expected to return to their hotels until around 2.30am the next morning.