REPORT: Bizarre twist in NZ's scheduling row
SPOTLIGHT: New Zealand Rugby have reportedly been caught in a web of lies as the truth around the Rugby Championship schedule surfaces.
According to FoxSports, leaked minutes from a SANZAAR meeting have revealed that New Zealand did in fact agree to play the Rugby Championship over six weeks, culminating on December 12 – despite their protestations otherwise.
The fresh reports come just a day after the South African Rugby Union announced that it would pull its four teams out of Super Rugby in favour of playing in Europe’s Pro14 competition and blamed New Zealand for the sudden break-up of the Southern Hemisphere competition.
SA Rugby said it was forced by New Zealand’s “unilateral” decision to organise its own domestic competition, or possibly a Trans-Tasman competition, leaving South Africa out in the cold.
Relations between New Zealand and Australia have also become strained, with Rugby Australia Chairman Hamish McLennan admitting its at its “lowest ebb”.
Despite the various ‘hurdles’ like lack of preparations, player welfare SA Rugby are still committed to playing in the upcoming Rugby Championship.
In contrast, New Zealand has publicly reiterated their disappointment with the scheduling.
Rugby CEO Mark Robinson repeatedly told reporters on Wednesday that his governing body did not agree to play a six-week tournament ending on December 12 as widely reported.
“We didn’t agree to the schedule and don’t agree to the schedule. Or the announcement,” Robinson said.
“Ordinarily, under SANZAAR joint venture, that means things aren’t decided or announced until there is unanimous support for anything such as this.”
All Blacks coach Ian Foster also voiced his opinion on the matter, urging SANZAAR to adjust the schedule.
“There was a deal based on [December] 5th we feel SANZAAR has reneged on that so we’ve put some solutions forward and we’re waiting on that. We have to fix it,” Foster told the New Zealand Herald.
“There’s been set expectations and they haven’t been delivered on so that’s up to the game and SANZAAR to sort out in the next few days,”
However, according to leaked minutes seen by the Sydney Morning Herald, all the outburst and public dissatisfactory is not true.
The Australia media outlet revealed that the minutes of the meeting between CEOs from SANZAAR clearly show the six-week tournament was unanimously agreed upon by all four nations involved and that the announcement was set in stone for late September.
The All Blacks are scheduled to play Australia in Sydney on December 12 and would have to spend two weeks in isolation when they return home as part of Covid-19 protocols.
Source: NZ Herald, FoxSport & Sydney Morning Herald