National | Chiefs

Chiefs 'gutted' home game now moved to Sydney

The Chiefs are having to change tactics given the news they will no longer have a final home game against the Melbourne Rebels this Sunday.

New Zealand Rugby confirmed this morning that instead of hosting this Sunday's match at the FMG Stadium Waikato, the Chiefs will face the Melbourne Rebels at Sydney's Leichhardt Oval due to uncertainty over the Rebels' ability to travel to New Zealand.

The announcement follows a seven-day Covid-19 lockdown extension on Wednesday, June 2, in the Rebels home state of Victoria.

The Chiefs are still in Australia after losing 40-34 to the Queensland Reds in Townsville last Saturday and moved to Sydney on Wednesday. And, on learning they were not being able to host their final home game, the players took to Twitter to express their regret to fans and supporters.

"We are gutted for our fans, sponsors, and team, but are still looking forward to facing the Rebels."

It is the second time the match has been shifted after being moved out one day from Saturday to Sunday to give the Rebels the best chance to travel to Hamilton.

NZR professional rugby and high-performance general manager Chris Lendrum, says, "It's disappointing that we couldn't get the match across the line in Hamilton but, ultimately, we are guided by the advice of government and health authorities."

Chiefs Rugby Club chief executive Michael Collins, says, "Our Club, players and coaches are understandably disappointed we are unable to host the Melbourne Rebels in front of our loyal members, fans and stakeholders in Hamilton.

"We were hopeful through extending the kick-off out 24 hours it would allow us to have the best opportunity to play at home if the travel pause lifted. However, we have learned the unpredictable nature of the Covid-19 pandemic brings uncertainty, and we need to be adaptable."

The match will kick off at 5pm NZT (3pm AEST) on Sunday, June 6.