Commonsense prevailed in Trans-Tasman spat
WATCH as All Blacks Coach Ian Foster gives his feelings on the revised Rugby Championship match schedule.
Foster described the decision to revise the Rugby Championship draw as a ‘victory for commonsense’.
The All Blacks won’t spend Christmas in quarantine after Rugby Australia and SANZAAR brought forward the final Australia versus New Zealand clash.
The Wallabies and All Blacks were due to meet in the last match of the tournament on December 12, but under current New Zealand regulations, they have to complete two weeks in quarantine that would take in Christmas.
There was talk of a potential boycott by New Zealand players if a solution wasn’t found.
The teams will now square off in the Rugby Championship opener, which doubles as the third Bledisloe Cup match, on October 31.
“It has been quite a process,” the All Black coach said of the often acrimonious negotiations.
“The fact that it became so much easier for New Zealand teams to go into Australia, that relaxation of the quarantine, meant this is the only commonsense approach.
“It is good that commonsense has won the day.
“We now have the chance to play over six weekends.
“It [six-week event] is a key ingredient for the tournament in Australia and that is pleasing.
“Both teams [New Zealand and Australia] still get a break after the second Bledisloe Cup Test in Auckland [next Sunday, October 18].
“We will have six games in a row, but it is all controllable. Now we know and there is an end date.”
WATCH: All Blacks Head Coach Ian Foster on the revised @SanzarTRC match schedule which will see the All Blacks Bledisloe Cup clash moved from December 12 to October 31 in Sydney. pic.twitter.com/Goy1TvAIWM
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) October 8, 2020
The match between Argentina and South Africa, part of a doubleheader on December 12, has been relocated from Sydney to Newcastle to close out the seven-week tournament.
The remainder of the draw is otherwise unchanged, with the Wallabies and All Blacks meeting for the fourth time as part of a doubleheader in Brisbane on November 7.
South Africa’s participation remains to be confirmed, with their government still to approve international travel for the world champions.
SANZAAR Chief Executive Andy Marinos said the opening of a travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand had allowed organisers to make the changes.
He hinted that New Zealand Rugby had been forced to foot some of the bill for the rescheduling.
“The opening of the travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand from New Zealand and an agreement by the parties on revised commercial outcomes has enabled the joint venture to consider alternative solutions in addressing our two key objectives of commercial viability and player welfare,” Marinos said.
“This year has been a year of continued adjustment where the SANZAAR partners have had to compromise on a number of levels.”
NZRU boss Mark Robinson described the decision as “great news”.
“It is great news that we now have certainty on the draw and we’re really excited about the fantastic rugby to come,” Robinson said.
The Christmas quarantine stoush had kept tensions high between the Trans-Tasman neighbours, with New Zealand claiming they never agreed to a December 12 finish.
New Zealand Rugby was already unhappy that Australia had snatched hosting rights away due to more relaxed COVID-19 restrictions.
It got to the point that RA chairman Hamish McLennan said the relationship between the countries was at its “lowest ebb”.
The teams meet in the opening Bledisloe Cup in Wellington on Sunday and in Auckland a week later.