All Blacks coach Ian Foster is “bitterly disappointed” with the proposed Rugby Championship schedule that may force his team to quarantine through Christmas but is hopeful a resolution can be reached with New Zealand’s Sanzaar partners in the coming days.
Foster fronted on Tuesday, as the All Blacks gathered in Hamilton for a three-day camp, for the first time since Sanzaar released the Rugby Championship draw without New Zealand Rugby’s agreement.
On Monday night Foster addressed his team to talk through the various options on the table and when he spoke publicly one day later, his frustrations with the process were clear.
“There’s still a lot happening in that space. There was a deal based on [December] 5th we feel Sanzaar has reneged on that so we’ve put some solutions forward and we’re waiting on that. We have to fix it,” Foster said.
“There’s been set expectations and they haven’t been delivered on so that’s up to the game and Sanzaar to sort out in the next few days.
David Havili was perhaps the most impressive player in New Zealand earlier this year. Injury may have curtailed his Super Rugby season, but it certainly hasn't affected his form. #AllBlackshttps://t.co/AIq9WiVCFT
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 28, 2020
“We’ve got to sort out this little hiccup and get on with it. Today would be great, but we’ll accept tomorrow.”
Asked if the All Blacks were prepared to boycott the final Rugby Championship test against the Wallabies on December 12 to avoid having to quarantine through Christmas, Foster said: “I don’t want to talk about that now. That’s a headline I don’t want to put out there but we’re bitterly disappointed that what was proposed got changed.
“We’re not basing on any schedule now because the schedule that’s been proposed is not one we agreed or accepted.
“This is not about a Christmas issue. It’s about players that have been playing and preparing to play through Covid and a whole lot of situations for a long, long time. At some point we’ve got to draw a line in the sand and say ‘that’s enough’.”
Foster would not go into specifics on alternative solutions but it essentially involves the prospect of moving the final All Blacks and Wallabies test forward, while allowing the Springboks and Pumas to play on December 12.
“I don’t think that’s going to be helpful. At the end of the day there was a good solution at the start – six tests in five weeks was achievable. South Africa and Argentina could play six in six weeks; it fitted a time zone. We’ve come up with a couple of ideas around that.
“There’s a whole lot of things that could happen but let’s not dwell on that. We think there’s a good attitude to fix this up and it needs fixing.”
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