SANZAAR, RA and NZR issue statement after border closure

Fri, 23/07/2021, 04:15 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
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SANZAAR, Rugby Australia (RA) and New Zealand Rugby (NZR) have announced they will explore their options after the travel bubble between the two nations was put on hold.

This comes as Australia deals with an ongoing COVID outbreak, which has sent Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide into lockdown.

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As a result, the New Zealand Government announced today the quarantine-free travel between the two nations has been paused for eight weeks.  

This leaves questions surrounding the Bledisloe Cup, with the first Test scheduled for August 7 in Wellington.

This would lead into The Rugby Championship, which also involves South Africa and Argentina, set to start a fortnight later.

Along with this, the Wallaroos recently announced a two-test series against their New Zealand counterparts for the end of September.

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RA CEO Andy Marinos said in a statement the parties will look over their options, with the Wallabies maintaining strict bio-security bubbles throughout their series against France.

“We are working closely with New Zealand Rugby and the various Governments through different scenarios now," he said.

"Rugby Australia’s position has always been to prioritise the health and safety of its players, staff and fans, and today’s announcement only reinforces that. We want to thank the Australian Government as well as the New Zealand Government for their support so far, as we aim for a positive outcome in the coming days. 

“The Wallabies team have been in a secure bubble since the conclusion of the France Series, with the squad assembled on the Gold Coast. The players are regularly PCR tested and have maintained strict bio-security protocols as recommended by the Return To Play Committee and the relevant health authorities."

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This was shared by his New Zealand counterpart Mark Robinson, with NZR remaining committed to delivering 'world-class rugby' whilst maintaining safety for players, staff and fans.

“We know the uncertainty this creates is challenging for our fans, players and partners, but remain committed to finding a path forward and continuing to deliver world-class rugby in 2021," he added.

“We are continuing to work closely with the New Zealand Government to explore the option of bringing Australia across the Tasman for the two Bledisloe Cup Tests.

“As we have throughout the Covid-19 pandemic our decisions will continue be guided by the advice of relevant Government and health authorities with the health and safety of our people at the forefront of any decisions. It’s important we evaluate all of our options before finalising any plans.

SANZAAR CEO, Brendan Morris added, “The Rugby Championship is scheduled to be played primarily in New Zealand and Australia over the next two months, with the first two matches to be played in South Africa between the Springboks and Pumas. Following these opening two matches, both teams then travel to Australia and New Zealand for the remainder of the tournament.”

“SANZAAR and its member unions – Rugby Australia, New Zealand Rugby, South Africa Rugby and Argentina Rugby Union - will now work with the respective governments and health authorities in Australia and New Zealand, as we have successfully done recently with Super Rugby, to find the best solutions for the tournament given this latest development."

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