Rugby Australia 'incredibly disappointed' as All Blacks withdraw from Bledisloe Cup in Perth

By Sports Desk August 20, 2021

Rugby Australia (RA) has been left "incredibly disappointed" after New Zealand Rugby (NZR) opted against sending the All Blacks to Perth for game three of the Bledisloe Cup against the Wallabies.

Australia and New Zealand were scheduled to meet at Optus Stadium on August 28, but Bledisloe III has been put on hold following the NZR's decision to keep the All Blacks grounded at home amid uncertainty due to COVID-19.

There have been rising cases of coronavirus in both Australia and New Zealand, with reports claiming the clash could be moved to the United Kingdom or South Africa.

NZR also announced the All Blacks' two home Rugby Championship Tests against South Africa – scheduled for September 25 and October 2 – will not be played in New Zealand following government advice that the Springboks would not be able to enter the country due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

"Without complete certainty on the team's next movements around The Rugby Championship we felt it was prudent for the team to stay put in New Zealand until SANZAAR have announced the full tournament schedule," said NZR CEO Mark Robinson on Friday, with the All Blacks having already retained the Bledisloe Cup.

"Once the team leaves our shores, they currently can't return until November 23 post their Northern Tour, so given the uncertainty, it makes sense to pause and get more clarity on these fixtures.

"We remain 100 percent committed to playing in the entire Fortinet Rugby Championship in 2021 and are working closely with SANZAAR to look at a range of options to reschedule these important matches."

Having been notified of NZR's decision to abort the Perth showdown via the media, RA CEO Andy Marinos said: "It's incredibly disappointing to be informed of this decision via the media, despite having a conversation with the CEO moments before and there no mention that this was the intention.

"Despite this outcome, I am confident we will find a solution for the whole Rugby Championship in what continues to be a very challenging environment in which to work.

"We have been engaging in positive discussions with both teams as well as government partners and were confident we were close to finding a solution."

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    :: George North is a Land Rover ambassador. Visit landrover.co.uk

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