'We haven't agreed to this': NZR fuming over rogue Rugby Championship plan

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 24 Sep 2020, 12:37PM
All Blacks players dejected. Photo / Photosport
All Blacks players dejected. Photo / Photosport

'We haven't agreed to this': NZR fuming over rogue Rugby Championship plan

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 24 Sep 2020, 12:37PM

New Zealand Rugby is fuming after the announcement of the Rugby Championship schedule that has the All Blacks playing their last match in Australia on Saturday, December 12, which is a change from original planning.

The last scheduled clash against the Wallabies means players and staff will be stuck in 14-day managed isolation over Christmas, a situation NZR were hoping to avoid.

Sanzaar and hosts Rugby Australia announced the match schedule for the Championship, with the All Blacks scheduled to play Australia in Brisbane on Saturday, November 7 and Argentina the following Saturday in Sydney on November 14.

The team is then scheduled to play back-to-back tests against South Africa in Sydney on November 21 and Newcastle on Saturday, November 28, with a second test against Argentina on Saturday, December 5 in Sydney and a final scheduled match against the Wallabies in Sydney on Saturday, December 12.

NZR chief executive Mark Robinson said the released schedule went against their plans that the last All Blacks match would be on December 5.

"We were working on the understanding and all our planning and scheduling was on the basis that the All Blacks' last match would be on December 5 to give our players and management time to get home, undertake the 14 days' quarantine back in New Zealand, and then be with their families for Christmas, as will be the case for the other three teams in the tournament," Robinson said.

"We understand the commercial considerations in the scheduling. However, the wellbeing of our people is an incredibly important factor in this also.

"We are committed to playing in the Rugby Championship and we know the scheduling of matches has been a complex and dynamic issue to work through, especially with quarantine protocols, but we haven't agreed to this schedule and are disappointed at the announcement.

"We will now work through the issues with Rugby Australia and Sanzaar and believe that there are other solutions within the Rugby Championship window."

The newly announced schedule comes after some players expressed that it will be difficult to leave their young families behind for several weeks.

All Blacks Richie Mo'unga and TJ Perenara have recently welcomed newborn babies, while Beauden Barrett and Sevu Reece are also expecting their first children in the coming weeks.

The Rugby Championship 2020 fixtures

Round One - Saturday, November 7, 2020

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Argentina v South Africa
Australia v New Zealand

Round Two - Saturday, November 14

Bankwest Stadium, Sydney

New Zealand v Argentina
South Africa v Australia

Round Three - Saturday, November 21

ANZ Stadium, Sydney

New Zealand v South Africa
Australia v Argentina

Round Four – Saturday, November 28

McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle

Argentina v Australia
South Africa v New Zealand

Round Five – Saturday, December 5

Bankwest Stadium, Sydney

Argentina v New Zealand
Australia v South Africa

Round Six – Saturday, December 12

ANZ Stadium, Sydney

South Africa v Argentina
Australia v New Zealand

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