Cash is king as SANZAAR announcement looms
Australia’s role in the Rugby Championship is set to be revealed on Friday following a SANZAAR conference call to thrash out details of the four-nations competition.
New Zealand was slated to host the November-December tournament – also involving Argentina and the World Cup-winning Springboks.
However, Australia has emerged as a possible location given its less onerous border and quarantine restrictions in some states.
New Zealand’s case hasn’t been helped by a second wave of COVID-19 in Auckland.
Queensland and New South Wales have been offered up as solutions, with financially stricken Rugby Australia desperate to get some Test action back on the field.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thursday didn’t sound confident her country would remain as hosts, but blamed commercial influences rather than its strict quarantine conditions.
“My view is that there are ways that we can accommodate our needs, which is making sure it is done safely,” Ardern said.
“There are lots of commercial questions, broadcasting issues and so on.
“There’s a lot in the mix but certainly I think we’re doing what we can to take it very seriously.”
There have been doubts raised about New Zealand’s ability to provide enough hotels in the same location to provide the large visiting squads with sufficient training facilities while in two-week quarantine before the tournament starts.
Popular tourist location Queenstown had reportedly been scouted as a possibility.
New Zealand health minister Chris Hipkins earlier on Thursday said the NZ Rugby had “a lot to work through” before any green light was given.
Hipkins said the governing body needed to explain how visiting teams could safely operate in a “bubble” while in quarantine.
“[Teams] need to be able to keep training through their isolation period and so what sort of bubble arrangements you would put around that is one of the details which are currently being worked through,” Hipkins said.