NZR CEO Mark Robinson said the decision was made because of the inability to assure the team’s return to home.
“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.
“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.”
Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos criticized the lack of communication from his New Zealand counterparts, saying he was “bloody angry.”
“I thought New Zealand Rugby didn’t even have the respect to consult RA about their decision so that’s hugely disappointing.”