SANZAAR, Rugby Australia rocked by NZ's Rugby Champs decision
REACTION: Rugby Australia (RA) claims it has been blindsided by New Zealand Rugby’s decision not to send the All Blacks to Perth on Sunday to play the third Bledisloe Cup Test.
The Rugby Championship fixture was thrown into chaos by New Zealand’s announcement on Friday, which RA called a “unilateral decision”.
The All Blacks were initially scheduled to fly to Perth on Sunday in preparation for the third Test at Optus Stadium on August 28, which also doubled as a Rugby Championship fixture.
But with NZ in lockdown with rising COVID cases and the uncertainty around the schedule, NZR pulled the pin.
The Black Ferns’ two Tests against the Wallaroos in NZ have also been canned as well the All Blacks’ two home Tests against South Africa.
The All Blacks were due to play South Africa in Dunedin on September 25 and in Auckland on October 2.
Furious RA boss Andy Marinos said they were informed by the media of the decision despite ongoing discussions with his NZ opposite Mark Robinson.
“It’s incredibly disappointing to be informed of this decision via the media, despite having a conversation with the CEO moments before and there no mention that this was the intention,” Marinos said in a statement.
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#NEWS: All Blacks cancel upcoming #RugbyChampionship Tests. https://t.co/8mzxPoFovZ
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) August 20, 2021
He felt that discussions between all parties, including the Western Australia government, had been positive and they were “close to finding a solution” with a meeting scheduled with SANZAAR later for Friday.
RA said it will work through alternative dates for the match to still be played in Perth, with close to 60,000 tickets already sold for the match.
It’s believed that the WA government was set to allow the All Blacks into the state, provided they arrived seven days before the match and completed “soft” quarantine, as interstate AFL teams currently do.
SANZAAR echoed Rugby Australia’s frustrations at New Zealand Rugby’s decision.
“SANZAAR is very disappointed that the New Zealand Rugby Union has made the decision not to travel to Perth at this time to play Australia for its second-round match [and Third Bledisloe match],” a statement read.
“However, SANZAAR and the other national unions will continue to work on when and where this match can be played as part of the overall rescheduling work being done.
“SANZAAR also recognises that this decision is incredibly disappointing for rugby fans in Perth.
“The other second-round match, South Africa versus Argentina, scheduled for Saturday 21 August in Port Elizabeth will take place as scheduled.
“SANZAAR will announce the details of the venues and dates of the remaining nine matches when appropriate and will not enter into speculation until then.”