New Zealand Rugby (NZR) are hanging on to hope the final round of Super Rugby Aotearoa can be played this weekend.

The country’s shift back up the Covid-19 alert levels until at least midnight Friday has put both matches in serious doubt.

As it stands, Sunday’s sold-out Blues-Crusaders match in Auckland could not go ahead, while Saturday’s Highlanders-Hurricanes game in Dunedin could but without fans.

NZR general manager for professional rugby & performance Chris Lendrum said all their decision-making would be guided by government advice and they were awaiting the government update on Friday with interest.

Lendrum said they would rather not postpone the matches, even if it meant playing them in empty stadiums.

“Our preference is to play them this week, we want to conclude the competition.

“It’s been an outstanding competition, all around on and off the field, and we’ve got other fixtures and competitions flying off the back of it.

“The seasons pretty jammed up as it is so we’re keen to get these games played.”

That desire meant NZR were working on a number of contingency plans.

Moving the Blues-Crusaders match out of Auckland if the city stayed in alert level three beyond Friday was considered, but had been ruled out by government.

Playing the Highlanders-Hurricanes match and not the game in Auckland, though, was still on the table.

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