'I want it in writing': NZR under pressure to offer guarantee
Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos says he’s asked NZR to guarantee in writing that the Perth test between the All Blacks and Wallabies will be played, according to a report by the Sydney Morning Herald.
The stakes are high for Rugby Australia, who would be forced to return an incentive payment from the Western Australian Government if the game does not go ahead. The WA Government put down A$5mil to stage the game at Optus Stadium in Perth, where 60,000 tickets were sold to fans wanting to watching the final Bledisloe test.
Rugby Australia’s boss has asked for a written guarantee from NZR the game will be played, and Marinos was confident of securing that ‘pretty soon’.
“I want it in writing. We have an email, but we need a letter for both the government and the stadium as well,” Marinos told SMH.
“That should be forthcoming pretty soon.”
After the All Blacks abandoned flights to Perth, Rugby Championship plans were put in limbo as both the Springboks and Pumas plans were put on hold. The two teams were due to board a charter flight from South Africa after their second game on the weekend.
Despite rumours the competition could be relocated to Europe, Rugby Australia is pushing for the Championship to be held in Queensland. Marinos has said that they are seeking fast-tracked approvals from the Queensland Government to get the teams into the country for managed isolation.
Venues are already being secured in Queensland, despite the NRL also using the state, there should be no clashes with scheduling.
“Queensland is absolutely a priority for us. Until such time that we cannot make it work, that’s the priority,” Marinos said.
“There was never any doubt about whether we could play there. It was just doubt that we could get South Africa and Argentina through managed isolation.”
That approval will come from the Queensland Government by Monday afternoon Marinos said, which would then put pressure on the NZR to get the All Blacks into Australia who said they delayed their travel due to uncertainty around the schedule.
If the All Blacks avoid travelling to Australia a second time around, then Rugby Australia would explore all legal options to recoup the money that would be forfeited to the WA Government from NZR.
“I’ve made New Zealand very aware that we have a contract and they’ve made a commitment.”
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