February 22, 2022 6:13AM

The long-awaited debut of Moana Pasifika in Super Rugby has been further delayed by the postponement of their round two match on Sunday against the Chiefs.

The Auckland-based Pasifika, who comprise players mostly of Tongan and Samoan heritage, were due to play the opening match of the Super Rugby Pacific season last Friday.

That match was postponed when seven squad members tested positive for COVID-19.

Team members have been isolating at their hotel in the South Island resort of Queenstown.

Moana Pasifika were due to play the Chiefs on Friday but the match was put back to Sunday because of concerns the team did not have long enough to prepare.

Further concerns over the welfare of players due to the team's disrupted preparation have led to the postponement of the match.

Super Rugby Pacific's medical advisory group met on Tuesday and decided that as the team had been released from isolation only at the weekend, their preparation to play this Sunday would be inadequate.

New Zealand Rugby's head of tournaments and competitions, Cameron Good, said the postponement "was the only responsible decision".

"Everyone wants to see Moana Pasifika out on the field and we explored every possibility to make that happen this weekend including pushing the Chiefs match out two days to Sunday," he said.

"However, we were not willing to compromise player safety and wellbeing so in the end this was an easy decision.

"We remain committed to rescheduling both of the postponed matches involving Moana Pasifika."