New Zealand Rugby has been forced to overhaul the All Blacks schedule and scrap plans to host two Rugby Championship tests against the Pumas in Auckland and Wellington in September due to the trans-Tasman bubble closure. Those two Rugby Championship tests against the Pumas were scheduled for September 11 at Eden Park and the 18th in Wellington.
NZ Rugby confirmed on Monday the opening Bledisloe Cup test at Eden Park on August 7 will proceed as planned, with the Wallabies expected to be granted an economic travel exemption to arrive in New Zealand this week.
The second Bledisloe Cup fixture was supposed to be played in Perth on August 21 but the Wallabies will now remain in New Zealand for two tests, with the third to be staged in the Western Australian capital.
NZ Rugby’s preference is to hold the second Bledisloe in Wellington but with the Beervana event scheduled for Sky Stadium on August 13 and 14, the match may be held mid-week or on the Sunday.
“It’s our strong intention to have a Bledisloe fixture in Wellington this year but there are some stadium availability issues on the 14th there,” NZR head of professional rugby Chris Lendrum said.
“We just need to keep working with Rugby Australia, Sanzaar and the stadium to see what we can do there. I wouldn’t rule out a mid-week fixture either if that’s what suits all parties.
“We are also keen to get to Australia to play that [third] fixture. Covid has taught us in these times you have to compromise with the order of things to make everything work and get the games played.
NZ Rugby still hope to host the world champion Springboks in two headline fixtures. The first All Blacks and Boks test in Dunedin, scheduled for September 25, will be the 100th between the two proud rugby nations. The second test is on October 2 at Eden Park.
“The travel pause at this point does allow us to contemplate playing South Africa in two fixtures in New Zealand following the end of the eight weeks and those are hugely exciting for the team and the rugby public.