REPORT: All Blacks stars to sit out Rugby Champs
SPOTLIGHT: Seems like the 2020 Rugby Championship has caused another concern in New Zealand.
Fresh New Zealand media reports suggest that high-profile All Blacks players could decide to skip the Rugby Championship due to family reasons.
SANZAAR’s decision to award the hosting right of the Rugby Championship to Australia spells huge complication for the All Blacks, as players and staff are set for an unusually long stay during the festive season in their neighbouring country.
The competition which is scheduled to run from November 7 to December 12 will mean that the All Blacks will return to New Zealand on December 13 and would be out of quarantine on December 27, so would all miss Christmas with their families.
According to Stuff, the lengthy period away from home will be particularly difficult for Beauden Barrett, whose wife is expecting a baby by the end of the month, and Richie Mo’unga and TJ Perenara, who became fathers for the first time recently.
The online magazine also revealed that NZR’s Chief Executive Mark Robinson and the Union will ‘support’ any player who decides to skip the tournament.
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“We want to make sure whoever is representing the All Blacks does so in a safe environment where they feel happy and comfortable,” said NZ Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson on Friday.
“Some of those conversations started earlier today with understanding where players and management line up with their different circumstances.
“We are hugely supportive of our players we know they have gone through an incredibly tough time this year. This challenge of what they are about to undertake is going to be significant and we will back them and their families in whatever way we need to ensure they are looked after. If that means they are unable to assemble or travel we’ll hear that out and support that.”
Robinson also told Stuff that they’re working on a solution and negotiations are expected to continue in the coming weeks.
“Those conversations have been active between Sanzaar, Rugby Australia and New Zealand for some time,” Robinson said.
“Both countries have schedules where the dates of games could be played on the last round on [December] 5th or 6th.
“We know in Australia there are a lot of teams that have been away from their homes for some time. Our guys will be on the road for nine or 10 weeks so we’re very mindful of where they’ll be at Christmas.”
Meanwhile, the Springboks participation in the tournament is also a huge doubt.
SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux revealed on Friday that SA Rugby could not confirm teh Springboks participation in the competition.
Roux pointed out that the ban on international sporting activity remained in place in South Africa and other factors like performance and player wellness are the other issues to consider.