New Zealand PM Ardern plays down Bledisloe biosecurity concerns

Ross Houston
September 16, 2020

Ardern said she also spoke to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday to work toward a solution.

"They want to thump us on the field, but frankly they can't afford to thump us by 50 points every time because the thing will die".

She said the risk profile for the Australians was different for teams in the wider Rugby Championship - South Africa and Argentina.

The announcement that the Wallabies will be able to start training after three days and commence full squad sessions after six days should be a massive relief to NZ Rugby after it lost the hosting rights for the Rugby Championship last week.

FitzSimons said New Zealand rugby would weaken the further the code slipped in Australia, with the All Blacks to ultimately suffer if the New Zealand teams keep thumping Aussie rivals at both Test and provincial level.

Australia's protocols allow entire squads to train together in a biosecure bubble from day one of their 14-day quarantine.

"We are hugely supportive of our players we know they have gone through an incredibly tough time this year", NZR's Chief Executive Mark Robinson said in comments published by New Zealand media on Saturday. This is all new to everyone, taking players away for nine weeks where you can't get back and it's becoming increasingly obvious it's going to be hard to bring players over later.

"I read that report yesterday and it was pretty frustrating that those headlines came out without any facts behind it", Foster said.

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

The Championship was switched because New Zealand's rules would have prevented squads playing together for much of their two-week quarantine.

"So, quarantine shouldn't be an issue".

"I just wanted to make sure that he was aware".

"New Zealanders are perfectly able to engage with the Bledisloe Cup and an election", she said, pointing out that Tests in New Zealand were traditionally played in the evening, when polling booths will have already closed.

This latest dispute originates from NZR's insistence to play the first Bledisloe Cup Test on 10 October - just five days after the Wallabies' quarantine period would end.

Foster also responded to Rennie's threat to skip the first test altogether, saying there's now no excuses for Australia not to play both tests.

"He has come out strong, based on information about the quarantine and we listened to that, " Foster told Newstalk ZB. "We've constantly talked about earning the right to play and we think others have played better". "A little bit of water to go under the bridge but today's news is positive".

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