PM on Rugby Championship loss to Australia and alert levels

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 15 Sep 2020, 9:48AM
Photo / File

PM on Rugby Championship loss to Australia and alert levels

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 15 Sep 2020, 9:48AM

The Prime Minister says Australia's taking a risk by hosting this year's Rugby Championship.

The southern hemisphere tournament kicks off on November 7, with the All Blacks, Wallabies and Pumas all competing.

The Springboks haven't decided whether they'll play or not.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today she had spoken to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison last night to ensure the All Blacks' two Bledisloe Cup matches in New Zealand would still go ahead in October.

"I just wanted to make sure that he was aware... I was made aware last night that there were a few little rumblings around the arrangements that we had in place," Ardern told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking.

"Always better to get ahead of these things before they escalate. Given we had a bit of a deal - we go there, they come here, we both benefit. I thought he might want to know there were a few discussions as to whether the Aussies were still going to come."

She believed the Australians were still coming. "There's no reason for them not to."

She said the risk profile for the Australians was different for teams in the wider Rugby Championship - South Africa and Argentina. In the case of the Argentina team, some players had tested positive for Covid.

She said the director general of health had advised that the Australians could start training after three days and the full squad after six days - a relaxation of earlier proposed rules. "Quarantine shouldn't be an issue... here risk is lower."

She denied she had made up the line of "Sanzaar politics" being to blame for the loss of the Rugby Championship - the tournament is now set to be held in Australia.

"Commercial arrangements played a part," she said, without being specific other than to refer to broadcasting arrangements and other money behind the tournament.