June 19, 2024
All Blacks cancel fixtures against Australia and South Africa due to Covid-19 travel restrictions

All Blacks cancel fixtures against Australia and South Africa due to Covid-19 travel restrictions

New Zealand is currently under lockdown restrictions until at least Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. local after discovering an outbreak of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus in the country. Authorities have since uncovered another 30 active cases, including 11 locally transmitted infections that were announced on Friday.
The team were scheduled to face the Wallabies — the Australia men’s rugby team — this Saturday in Perth, Australia, for the third Bledisloe Cup Test match — a series between the two nations — and the nation’s second match of the Rugby Championship, a test series contested between New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina.
However, “given the current uncertainty over The Rugby Championship schedule,” according to a statement from New Zealand Rugby (NZR), the team will not travel.

NZR CEO Mark Robinson said the decision was made because of the inability to assure the team’s return to home.

Ardie Savea of the All Blacks is tackled during The Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup match against the Wallabies.
“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,” he said in a statement.

“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.”

Furthermore, the All Blacks were scheduled to play South Africa at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday, September 25, and at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday, October 2.

New Zealand women’s rugby side, the Black Ferns, were scheduled to play the Wallaroos — the Australian women’s rugby team — in Christchurch, on Sunday, September 26 and at Eden Park as part of a double header with the All Blacks.

But after government advice that the 2019 World Cup winners and the Wallaroos would not be able to enter New Zealand to play the matches “due to COVID-19 travel restrictions,” the games have been canceled.

Robinson said every effort had been made to keep the tests in New Zealand.

“We share the disappointment of our fans, players and other stakeholders, particularly those in Dunedin where the sold-out 100th Test between the All Blacks and South Africa was shaping up as a very special occasion,” he said.

“However, after discussions with Government, it is clear that the Covid-19 travel restrictions meant there was no way of bringing the South African and Wallaroos squads into New Zealand and we understand the importance of putting the health and safety of New Zealanders first.”

Official match balls are seen ahead of The Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup match between the All Blacks and the Wallabies.

Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos criticized the lack of communication from his New Zealand counterparts, saying he was “bloody angry.”

“I think it’s disappointing how it has been communicated. Our boys all found out through social media,” he told reporters.

“I thought New Zealand Rugby didn’t even have the respect to consult RA about their decision so that’s hugely disappointing.”