Martin Devlin: A wasted opportunity for NZ not hosting Rugby Championship

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Fri, 11 Sep 2020, 10:26AM

Martin Devlin: A wasted opportunity for NZ not hosting Rugby Championship

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Fri, 11 Sep 2020, 10:26AM

Good on you Sir John Kirwan. One of the few, all too few, influential voices pleading with the government to reconsider it's closed door border policies, let the teams in and ensure that we here in NZ can host The Rugby Championship.

Because unless some sort of about face happens, IT won't be - happening here that is. Which is not only, I believe, a stubborn mistake from our Dear Leaders but also a seriously wasted opportunity to showcase both our country and our Covid eliminating strategy to an eagerly watching world.

And yes I've heard all the arguments as to why we simply can't stage the event. From "keeping everyone safe" to  "quarantine this" and "dodgy bubble that" none of it, to me, adequately explains why we can't or won't find a way to get it done.

The same day SANZAAR was meeting to thrash out their remaining options the All Whites announced a football friendly against England at Wembley in November. It just doesn't make sense.

Australia, a country still racked by CV outbreaks, has had almost three months worth of NRL, AFL, finished the A-League season, staged their own Super Rugby, several rounds of Supercars at different inter-state venues and now say they're not only ready to pick up where we're leaving off but are even offering cash incentives to ensure they gazump us and get the tournie themselves.

It doesn't seem that long ago that we were very proudly the only nation on earth playing sport with fans back in the stands.

Yet now we can't get a couple of bubbles organised to provide a safe workable environment for three touring teams? It feels like we're just giving up without a fight. Surely staging a successful event like this, which we're more than capable of doing, would only be good for the country?

Maybe I'm totally stupid but what exactly is the down side? Sport is being used and celebrated throughout the world as a conduit to resumption of some sense  of normality. Aren't we meant to be the planet's poster-child for how to successfully contain the virus? If so then how can we also be the only place that can't get a few teams into the country to compete like everywhere else on earth is doing?

I repeat. It does not make sense. Of course there's never any harm in being overly cautious, but this government is plain paranoid - and that's the biggest disappointment.  

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