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All Blacks test in Perth still possible says Rugby Australia

By AAP

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Rugby Australia (RA) boss Andy Marinos remains “optimistic” the Bledisloe Cup Test will go ahead in Perth in September following New Zealand’s decision to pull out of next Saturday’s match.

The Rugby Championship was thrown into chaos when New Zealand announced on Friday that the All Blacks wouldn’t travel to Perth for the August 28 fixture without knowing the remainder of the schedule.

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Some games needed to be relocated from NSW due to the COVID-19 outbreak, with talk the tournament could be played in South Africa or even the UK.

With 60,000 seats already sold, financially stricken RA is doing all it can to make Bledisloe III, which doubles as a Rugby Championship match, go ahead in Perth.

“We’re working hard now with the West Australian government and the stadium to see if we can’t move that to September 4,” Marinos told the Nine Network.

“There’s a lot of work being done in the last 24-48 hours so we remain optimistic and confident we can get the game away eventually in Perth.”

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Having arrived in Perth from Auckland last Sunday while the All Blacks spent the week with their families, halfback Tate McDermott said the Wallabies found the situation tough to swallow.

“I think I speak for everyone in the squad when I say it’s incredibly disappointing and frustrating,” McDermott told Nine.

The Wallabies won their last Bledisloe Cup match when Perth hosted in 2019.

A war of words erupted after New Zealand’s decision, with RA claiming to have been blindsided by the call.

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Marinos was convinced NZR never intended to fulfil their obligation to play the match, despite Australia agreeing to rework the schedule which saw the opening two Tests in Auckland.

“I don’t think they really had any intention of fulfilling that game on the 28th,” Marinos said.

He described the rugby relationship between the two countries as “challenging”.

“We feel as an organisation and players there’s been a significant amount of compromise and sacrifice on our side in order to manage this COVID outbreak and get things underway.

“We don’t feel that’s being reciprocated at the moment. They forever seem to be putting up roadblocks.

“Our team went to New Zealand at the drop of a hat with no certainty around the future structure and have been on the road and away from family since the 12th of June so we would expect more of a partnership approach.”

NZR boss Mark Robinson said they were committed to playing a third Bledisloe game once the Rugby Championship schedule was locked in.

South Africa and Argentina are due to arrive in Australia early this week.

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All Blacks test in Perth still possible says Rugby Australia

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