The NZ Herald first reported Australia had pinched the four nations tournament from New Zealand. which will be hosted from early November.
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Governing body SANZAAR, who initially said New Zealand was the preference to host the tournament, confirmed the news on Friday afternoon.
“SANZAAR ultimately determined that based on government-required quarantine protocols (for entry and training prior to the tournament) and commercial underwriting, the Rugby Australia submission was the most desirable and workable in terms of tournament logistics for the essential pre-tournament preparation period and the six-week tournament itself,” SANZAAR chief executive Andy Marinos stated.
The tournament featuring Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina will commence on November 7 and conclude on December 12.
The Daily Telegraph reported most of the matches will be played in New South Wales.
“Firstly, I want to thank our SANZAAR partners for their support and their co-operation in making this tournament possible,” Rugby Australia interim chief executive Rob Clarke said.
“I also want to thank our government partners, particularly the New South Wales Government who have backed us to secure the tournament and they will be delighted to hear of SANZAAR’s support. We will now knuckle down to make these plans a reality.”
New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson conceded the New Zealanders were “disappointed” to lose the hosting rights.
“We’re obviously disappointed at the decision to not have New Zealand host the tournament, but we understand and accept it. Now that the decision has been made, we’re looking forward to seeing the All Blacks again take on the best of the Southern Hemisphere,” Robinson said.
“We worked incredibly hard behind the scenes with a whole range of stakeholders, including SANZAAR and the New Zealand Government, to ensure we were ready and able to host the Championship and we felt we were.”
Australia secured the tournament on the basis of having superior quarantine regulations in regards to allowing teams to train while in isolation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following three months of detailed planning, difficulties negotiating with the New Zealand Government around strict quarantine regulations for visiting teams left NZ Rugby frustrated.
It is understood the need to isolate without training for a set number of days, and restrictions around the size of bubbles thereafter, were the major sticking points that swung the tournament in Australia’s favour.
With both South Africa and Argentina yet to resume rugby in their respective countries, the ability to train as a squad from the day of arrival was a key selling point for Australia.
Australia’s pitch is believed to centre on 50 to 75 per cent crowd capacity.
With Australia securing the rights to host the Rugby Championship, the first two Bledisloe Cup matches will now be pushed back one week and staged on October 17 and 24, likely to be in Auckland and Wellington.
The All Blacks will then venture to Australia, where they could be based for up to 10 weeks, for the Rugby Championship.
This article first appeared on the NZ Herald and was reproduced with permission