NZ Rugby refute claims they approved Rugby Championship schedule

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 1 Oct 2020, 5:59PM
New Zealand Rugby and Sanzaar chairman Brent Impey. (Photo / Photosport)
New Zealand Rugby and Sanzaar chairman Brent Impey. (Photo / Photosport)

NZ Rugby refute claims they approved Rugby Championship schedule

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 1 Oct 2020, 5:59PM

New Zealand Rugby has rejected reports they approved the schedule for the Rugby Championship - that could see the All Blacks spending Christmas Day in quarantine and has fuelled the organisation's bitter recent spat with Rugby Australia.

NZR chairman Brent Impey said leaked minutes of a meeting, allegedly involving Sanzaar chief executives, was "illegitimate".

NZR last week expressed their disappointment after Sanzaar, the governing body for Southern Hemisphere rugby, announced the Rugby Championship schedule that would see the All Blacks play their final game on December 12, and have to spend Christmas away from their families due to the Government's 14-day Covid-19 managed isolation regulations.

Australian media have reported that leaked minutes of a meeting between the Sanzaar chief executives shows that New Zealand were not "blindsided" by the announcement of the six-week tournament - and that the draw was accepted by everyone.

"I'm the chairman of Sanzaar and there's not been a Sanzaar board meeting since the 4th of August," Impey said.

"The notes that have been published are not board minutes, and they've got a fundamental error in it as far as we're concerned, which says the six-week draw was agreed by all. I can tell you that it wasn't – we know that, and Rugby Australia and Sanzaar know that.

"The notes also quite clearly refer to an impasse and there are many emails that prove this... our position has never changed."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern earlier confirmed isolation rules will not be loosened for the All Blacks players and staff who travel across the ditch, meaning a reschedule of games is the only hope at this stage of seeing New Zealand players and staff join their families by December 25.

"Our focus is trying on getting the TRC [Rugby Championship] issue sorted, and we're not going to bother to engage in tit for tat on what was so-called notes, which weren't minutes and weren't board minutes either," Impey said.

"We do challenge those that have made comments concerning NZR's integrity, we defend out position and we're firm on it".

Impey conceded there is still a lot to sort around the Rugby Championship, and says NZR CEO Mark Robinson and colleagues are working through that process.

"There are a number of solutions; we haven't got one we can table at the moment… but it's top of mind," Impey adds.

Despite suggestions the relationship between New Zealand and Australia Rugby is at its lowest, Impey describes it as a "bit of banter".

"The relationship isn't bad at all; we've had a couple of zoom meetings that have been positive.

"It's in our mutual interests to do so [work together], there are no relationship hurdles as far as we're concerned."