New Zealand pull out of Australia and Springboks games amid Covid travel restrictions
Australia head coach Dave Rennie has hit out at New Zealand over a lack of respect after it was announced the All Blacks would not travel to Perth over the weekend ahead of the proposed third Bledisloe Cup Test on 28th August.
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) confirmed in a statement that two matches with world champions South Africa, scheduled for 25th September and 2nd October, had also been cancelled following advice from the government.
Rennie lambasted the decision not to communicate with Rugby Australia before going public with the news the match set for later this month was in doubt.
â€œBloody angry,â€� he told reporters after the announcement. â€œI think itâ€™s disappointing how it has been communicated. Our boys all found out through social media.
â€œI thought New Zealand Rugby didnâ€™t even have the respect to consult RA about their decision so thatâ€™s hugely disappointing.â€�
A statement from NZR added that the countryâ€™s womenâ€™s side will no longer host Australia for matches in Christchurch on 26th September and at Eden Park on 2nd October.
'The decision follows advice from government that the Springboks and Wallaroos would not be able to enter New Zealand to play the matches due to Covid-19 travel restrictions,' NZR said in its
New Zealand this week went into a national lockdown after a case of the Covid-19 Delta strain, which spread from Australia, was detected.
The All Blacks thrashed Rennieâ€™s men 57-22 last Saturday, having edged out their rivals 33-25 in the first encounter at the beginning of August, and were due to wrap up the series later this month.
Australiaâ€™s disappointment is exacerbated by the fact they travelled to New Zealand in October, had to quarantine and then played two Bledisloe matches despite the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing.
NZR chief executive Mark Robinson insisted the decision not to travel to Perth at the weekend was due to â€œuncertaintyâ€� and that â€œonce the team leaves our shores, they currently canâ€™t return until 23rd Novemberâ€� with discussions taking place with Sanzaar over rescheduling the matches.
Rennie added: â€œI feel like thereâ€™s only one of us doing whatâ€™s in the best interest of the game.
â€œLast year, we went to New Zealand to ensure the games were played for the benefit of both countries.
â€œWe quarantined in Wellington for two weeks. The expectation was we made a commitment to go there this year, theyâ€™d come here and they havenâ€™t honoured. It tells you more about them than us I reckon.â€�
South Africa, who defeated Argentina in the Rugby Championship on Saturday, have offered to host the remaining fixtures in the tournament.
Jurie Roux, chief executive at South Africa Rugby, said: â€œWe have advised Sanzaar that we are ready and able to host the remainder of the competition in South Africa, pending our governmentâ€™s approval.
â€œBut we are now well-versed in turning on rugby Tests within the prevailing Covid restrictions and have the venues and accommodation necessary. We just need the go-ahead.â€�
The Springboks and Pumas were due to fly to Australia on Sunday, but they have paused their flights while they await further news from Sanzaar.