Super Rugby Pacific preparing for Omicron

Making sure the game gets on the field is the main concern for Super Rugby Pacific this year.

Like a number of sports, Super Rugby is now looking at the likely impact of Omicron Covid-19 now that New Zealand has moved to a red light setting.

Crusaders boss Colin Mansbridge says while there will probably be limited fan access to games, their main concern is that the games can still go ahead.

The Crusaders have moved a pre-season game against the Hurricanes from Blenheim to Christchurch because it will be easier to manage under the current Covid guidelines.

New Zealand Rugby and the franchises will have contingency plans in place and they'll now be starting to put those plans into action.

The start of the competition is just over three weeks away.

"I think the key thing is how are we going to manage (player) availability into the competition," said Mansbridge.

"How do we suppress the virus from getting into our environments and then make sure we have as many fit and healthy athletes as possible to play games."

Mansbridge says they've been trying to get as much information as possible on how sports in other countries are dealing with Omicron.

"We've been talking to clubs in the Northern Hemisphere, our colleagues in Australia and other codes about managing your environment to make sure you are in the best possible position to compete as well as you possibly can when the time comes.

"There are certain positions in rugby where you need to have plenty of depth in your roster come game day, so that could be the biggest challenge for us.

"Financially we all realise we're going to be a bit bruised this year," said the Crusaders CEO.

The five New Zealand franchises and Moana Pasifika will only play against each other for the first part of the competition with a trans-Tasman element not being introduced until round ten in late April.

Mansbridge is hoping that they won't need to go into isolation bubbles before then.

"How many filters can you put in place to suppress the virus getting into an environment, and then the impact of it spreading once it's in - so there will be lots of filters put in place.

"The irony will be that the first person who tests positive - and it happens - will be doing us a favour because it will teach us how to deal with that situation."

The first round of Super Rugby Pacific starts on Friday 18 February; Moana Pasifika play the Blues, while the Chiefs play the Highlanders and the Crusaders play the Hurricanes.