Rugby Championship schedule means New Zealand All Blacks will miss Christmas

Ross Houston
September 26, 2020

Sanzaar, the governing body for the tournament which includes Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina, said the non-Australian teams would be required to observe all health regulations around their squads as imposed by the New South Wales and Queensland governments.

New Zealand Rugby has reacted angrily to the schedule for the four-nation Rugby Championship, accusing its Australian counterpart and southern hemisphere organizers Sanzaar of breaching a commitment to have the All Blacks home for Christmas. Home-based Pumas have played no rugby since March.

NZ Rugby was left red-faced and angry when Sanzaar declared it wouldn't compress the Rugby Championship in Australia into a five-week schedule, preventing the All Blacks from being home for Christmas day because they will still be in quarantine after playing the final game against the Wallabies in Brisbane on December 12.

NZR chief executive Mark Robinson said Thursday the schedule broke a firm commitment from Rugby Australia and Sanzaar that New Zealand would play its final match on December 5, giving team members plenty of time to rejoin their families for Christmas.


NZR chief executive Mark Robinson told Simon and Phil they were working towards the prior weekend, but commercial considerations seem to be at play.

During a media conference, a journalist asked her whether she would let the All Blacks finish their isolation earlier so they could spend Christmas with their families, if she was prime minister.

However, the fixtures released today show the final scheduled match will take place in Sydney on December 12. However, the wellbeing of our people is an incredibly important factor in this also. "But we haven't agreed to this schedule and are disappointed at the announcement".

"In 2007, we blamed the referee for losing a Rugby World Cup, in 1995 we blamed a waitress, we blamed the Government quarantine rules for losing the Rugby Championship", he said.


Prior to the Rugby Championship, New Zealand will host the Wallabies in two Bledisloe Cup Tests on October 11 and 18. "No. [NZR] knew what our quarantine situation was like and obviously did not work hard enough to make sure that they could convince their partners to get to New Zealand and deal with the situation here".

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While South Africa celebrated the World Cup triumph, memories remain fresh of the Springboks conceding 57 points in successive matches against New Zealand a few years ago.


Clarke added: "Rugby Australia will do everything in its power to help assist New Zealand Rugby and the team in finding a reasonable resolution, and in urging them to exhaust every possible alternative".

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