Confirmed: Blow for NZ as Aussies pinch Rugby Championship

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 11 Sep 2020, 3:09PM
Photo / File
Photo / File

Confirmed: Blow for NZ as Aussies pinch Rugby Championship

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 11 Sep 2020, 3:09PM

Australia will host this year's Rugby Championship.

As first revealed by the Herald, New South Wales has pinched the four-nation tournament from New Zealand and it will be hosted from November 7.

Sanzaar, who initially said New Zealand was the preference to host the tournament, made the announcement this afternoon.

Australia secured the tournament on the basis of having superior quarantine regulations in regards to allowing teams to train while in isolation.

Australian federal and state governments are also thought to have stumped up to lure the tournament away from New Zealand.

Following three months of detailed planning, difficulties negotiating with the New Zealand Government around strict quarantine regulations for visiting teams had left NZ Rugby frustrated.

NZR CEO Mark Robinson said: "We're obviously disappointed at the decision to not have New Zealand host the tournament, but we understand and accept it. Now that the decision has been made, we're looking forward to seeing the All Blacks again take on the best of the Southern Hemisphere.

"We worked incredibly hard behind the scenes with a whole range of stakeholders, including Sanzaar and the New Zealand Government, to ensure we were ready and able to host the Championship and we felt we were. We'd like to thank everyone involved for working so hard on the planning to have the tournament here."

It is understood the need to isolate without training for a set number of days, and restrictions around the size of bubbles thereafter, were the major sticking points that swung the tournament in Australia's favour.

With both South Africa and Argentina yet to resume rugby in their respective countries, the ability to train as a squad from the day of arrival was a key selling point for Australia.

Australia's pitch is believed to centre on 50 to 75 per cent crowd capacity.

With Australia securing the rights to host the Rugby Championship, the Herald understands first two Bledisloe Cup matches will now be pushed back one week and staged on October 17 and 24, likely to be in Auckland and Wellington.

NZ Rugby confirmed the matches will be hosted in New Zealand.

"Those two matches will be massive for our fans and the All Blacks. We know that the Bledisloe Cup is the pinnacle of trans-Tasman rivalry and there will be huge anticipation ahead of those matches," Robinson said.

The All Blacks will then venture to Australia, where they could be based for up to 10 weeks, for the Rugby Championship.