A player in the Blues rugby squad has been identified as a close contact of a confirmed Covid-19 case, sending himself and his roommate into isolation days after arriving in Queenstown as part of the Super Rugby Pacific bubble.
Super Rugby teams had decamped to Queenstown over the last week in a move the New Zealand Rugby Union hoped would prevent a Covid-19 outbreak within the teams derailing the competition; they’ve operated in six separate, controlled bubbles to mitigate risk of close contact events.
In a statement late Thursday the NZRU also said a member of the wider Moana Pasifika squad had been identified as a close contact too but is not in the camp and is awaiting a Covid test result.
NZ Rugby general manager professional rugby Chris Lendrum said Omicron presented unique challenges to the competition.
“We always knew that, given just how transmissible Omicron is and how quickly it has swept the globe, it was a distinct possibility our teams could be affected, despite our efforts to relocate teams and the heightened protocols within our environments.
“We are working with public health officials to ensure we are minimising any risk of infection within the Super Rugby bubble and within the local community.”
The Blues team doctor is conducting supplementary PCR tests with the two men in isolation, in addition to the twice-weekly rapid antigen test all teams have been receiving.
NZRU says once the team members’ test results are received, the Covid protocols will be revisited. The Moana Pasifika and Blues squads are isolating in their respective hotels.