September 15, 2021
September 11, 2021
The All Blacks are set to leave Perth for the third game of the Bledisloe Cup after being previously held down for player welfare reasons.
After New Zealand rugby controversially chose not to send the All Blacks to Perth this week, a solution appears to have been found with the All Blacks due to leave New Zealand next week. Liam
The All Blacks are expected to board a plane to Perth next week for the third test of the rescheduled Bledisloe Cup against the Wallabies on September 4.
The difference between next week and last week, when New Zealand rugby sparked an uproar by shooting the All Blacks traveling for the Bledisloe test scheduled for August 28 in Perth, is that the rugby championship destination should be finalized by Tuesday or Wednesday.
The lingering uncertainty over whether Europe, Queensland or South Africa will host the four-nation tournament is the reason NZ Rugby gave for not sending the All Blacks last Saturday.
Provided the health protocols remain the same, allowing the All Blacks to travel to Perth, stay in a controlled bubble and play seven days later, and Rugby Australia can negotiate with the AFL to secure the Optus Stadium on September 4, the sold-out final Bledisloe is expected to stage then.
Amid Australia’s seething anger over how NZ Rugby handled the complex situation, dead rubber Bledisloe, who also serves as the All Blacks Rugby Championship second game, promises to be a tense opportunity .
Like last week, the All Blacks must leave New Zealand by this Saturday in order to land in Perth a week before the September 4th date.
Much of the context around NZ Rugby’s decision to detain the All Blacks on late notice and force Rugby Australia to reschedule third Bledisloe for the second time, has been overshadowed by furious criticism – and some questionable claims, in particularly those of the Director General of RA. Andy Marinos on lack of consultation.
Sanzaar held a general manager’s meeting last Thursday in which NZ Rugby boss Mark Robinson pointed out the issues surrounding the All Blacks’ departure, including the challenges of bringing together a group of around sixty players and managers from all parts of the country with significantly reduced domestic flights while New Zealand is in lockdown.
With no MIQ spots available for the All Blacks until November, once the team leaves New Zealand they will not be able to return until then. So they want to be sure where the rugby championship is going before they leave home for up to 14 weeks.
After Sanzaar’s meeting, the Herald understands that Robinson and Marinos spoke twice more on Friday, the latter well aware of the 2pm deadline to ensure Queensland’s ability to host the Rugby Championship before the All Blacks are not ready to fly.
The prospect of postponing the third Bledisloe by a week to September 4, in order to allow time for the rugby championship situation to resolve, was raised to be rejected by Marinos.
As the deadline loomed, Marinos requested an additional three hours to get a letter or approval from the Queensland government – which has yet to arrive – and Robinson made it clear that, given the logistical challenges, they don’t. wouldn’t wait that long.
Having received no assurances from Queensland regarding the rugby championship, NZ Rugby took a firm stand in stating that the All Blacks would not travel as planned, prompting furious criticism and suggestions from Marinos whom he discovered via the media.
Another largely overlooked factor is the quarantine situation faced by Springboks and Pumas. Both teams had originally planned to satisfy their two-week quarantine in Sydney, where they were allowed to train during that time. As of last Friday, however, this was no longer the case with the deteriorating Covid-19 situation in Sydney.
While Perth remains keen to host the third Bledisloe, they are also uncomfortable with the potential risks associated with hosting South Africa’s Boks and Pumas, a Covid-19 hotspot.
Perth has therefore changed its position on the organization of the rugby championship, as had been announced.
With the Queensland state government yet to ensure that it is ready to host the tournament or clarify the quarantine situation for the Boks and Pumas, there is great uncertainty surrounding how and where these teams will enter Australia.
NZ Rugby’s decision has left ticket holders in Perth disillusioned and Wallabies coach Dave Rennie “bloody angry” as, among other things, his team are now left in limbo.
The decision to delay the trip, however, is not without precedent. Last year, the Springboks withdrew from the Australian rugby championship at the 11th hour – citing the welfare of the players. This decision had major ramifications in reducing the tournament to the Tri Nations.
Sanzaar is due to meet on Monday to determine where the rugby championship will take place, with Queensland and Europe essentially in a one-on-one battle. South Africa’s inability to accommodate large crowds would drastically reduce income.
Europe is attractive to the four nations from a financial standpoint – and while the third Bledisloe cannot be staged in Perth on September 4, there is the option of playing it instead at Wembley on October 9.