Friday’s Super Rugby Pacific clash between the Western Force and Moana Pasifika has been postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Force squad.
The competition’s medical advisory group made the decision which means Moana Pasifika has now had four games postponed due to the virus in their debut season.
“The Western Force has medically reported significant numbers of COVID-19 cases within the squad, which under Rugby Australia protocols means they are not available for selection,” Force chief executive Tony Lewis said.
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Hooper catches Force napping
“We have worked closely with Rugby Australia High Performance to firstly protect the integrity of the Western Force club and Super Rugby Pacific.
“We have made every effort possible to assist in making this game go ahead. Despite looking at multiple player replacement options, the number of players affected is simply too great.
“We’d like to thank Moana Pasifika for their understanding, and we look forward to meeting them at a later date.”
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Meanwhile, the Reds have suffered a major blow with the loss of star five-eighth James O’Connor for at least a month with a knee injury.
Young Lawson Creighton will instead make his starting debut against the Hurricanes in Melbourne on Saturday.
The Reds are also without fullback Jordan Petaia (hamstring).
“Trans-Tasman was a tough ride last year against the New Zealanders,” Reds coach Brad Thorn said.
“The challenge will be in front of us again this year. It starts with the Hurricanes and we’re looking forward to a tough match.”
WARATAHS vs CHIEFS, Friday 6pm AEST
WARNING (15-1): Will Harrison, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Izaia Perese, Jamie Roberts, Alex Newsome, Tane Edmed, Jake Gordon (c), Will Harris, Michael Hooper, Charlie Gamble, Hugh Sinclair, Jed Holloway, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Dave Porecki, Angus Bell
Reserves: Tom Horton, Te Tera Faulkner, Archer Holz, Geoffrey Cridge, Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco, Jack Grant, Ben Donaldson, Dylan Pietsch
CHIEFS (15-1): Chase Tiatia, Jonah Lowe, Alex Nankivell, Rameka Poihipi, Quinn Tupaea, Bryn Gatland, Cortez Ratima, Pita Gus Sowakula, Sam Cane (c), Luke Jacobson, Tupou Vaa’i, Josh Lord, Angus Ta’avao, Samisoni Taukei ‘ aho, Aidan Ross
Reserves: Bradley Slater, Ollie Norris, George Dyer, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Samipeni Finau, Xavier Roe, Rivez Reihana, Inga Finau
Drua’s spine-tingling Na Bole challenge
DRUA vs BLUES, Saturday 5.05pm AEST
DRUA (15-1): Kitione Taliga, Tuidraki Samusamuvodre, Kalaveti Ravouvou, Caleb Muntz, Onisi Ratave, Simione Kuruvoli, Peni Matawalu, Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, Rusiate Nasove, Meli Derenalagi (c), Viliame Rarasea, Chris Minimbi, Manasa Saulo, Meseli
Reserves: Zuriel Togiatama, Timoci Sauvoli, Jone Koroiduadua, Isoa Nasilasila, Joseva Tamani, Leone Nawai, Jona Mataiciwa, Frank Lomani
Hurricanes carve up the Highlanders
REDS vs HURRICANES, Sunday 7.45pm AEST
REDS (15-1): Jock Campbell, Suliasi Vunivalu, Hunter Paisami, Hamish Stewart, Filipo Daugunu, Lawson Creighton, Tate McDermott (c), Harry Wilson, Fraser McReight, Connor Vest, Angus Blyth, Ryan Smith, Taniela Tupou, Richie Asiata, Harry Hooper
Reserves: Matt Faessler, Dane Zander, Feao Photo Time, Lopeti Faifua, Angus Scott-Young, Kalani Thomas, Josh Flook, Mac Grealy
Highlanders denied match-winning try
BRUMBIES vs HIGHLANDERS, Sunday 2pm AEST
BRUMBIES (15-1): Tom Wright, Cam Clark, Len Ikitau, Irae Simone, Andy Muirhead, Noah Lolesio, Nic White (c), Pete Samu, Jahrome Brown, Rob Valetini, Cadeyrn Neville, Darcy Swain, Sefo Kautai, Lachlan Lonergan, Scott Sio
Reserves: Folau Fainga’a, James Slipper, Tom Ross, Tom Hooper, Luke Reimer, Ryan Lonergan, Rod Iona, Hudson Creighton
REBELS vs CRUSADERS, Sunday 4.30pm AEST
REBELS (15-1): Reece Hodge, George Worth, Andrew Kellaway, Stacey Ili, Glen Vaihu, Matt To’omua, James Tuttle, Michael Wells (c), Brad Wilkin, Rob Leota, Josh Hill, Matt Philip, Cabous Eloff, James Hanson, Cameron Orr
Reserves: Efi Ma’afu, Matt Gibbon, Rhys van Nek, Josh Canham, Tamati Ioane, Sam Wallis, Joe Powell, Carter Gordon
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