New Zealand Government delivers verdict for Wallabies border exemption
The New Zealand government has granted the Wallabies a border exemption for the Bledisloe Cup.
Dave Rennie’s Wallabies will leave their Queensland training camp in Queensland on Friday, arriving across the Tasman in time to beat the reinstatement of mandatory quarantine.
They will train in New Zealand for a week leading up to the series opener at Auckland’s Eden Park on August 7.
Sport Minister Grant Robertson said the matches were important to New Zealanders and the economy.
“This decision was not taken lightly … Test rugby between the All Blacks and the Wallabies is keenly anticipated by New Zealanders,” Robertson said.
“A Test match is estimated to be worth between $17-20 million ($A16-19 million) in spending for host regions, while the broadcast rights provide much needed income for the sport, which positively effects all levels of the game.”
The border exemption was required after Jacinda Ardern’s government announced an eight-week trans-Tasman bubble shutdown last week.
Regular NZ residents have been given until Saturday to return home and avoid being stranded in Australia.
The new tough border rules mean the Rugby Championship schedule will need to be tweaked.
Game two of the Bledisloe Cup is likely to take place in New Zealand before the All Blacks head to Australia for a likely game three in Perth.
Two Rugby Championship-concluding Tests against South Africa in New Zealand are in doubt, with the All Blacks eager to negotiate with the government to secure the matches.
Also on Tuesday, All Blacks loose forward Shannon Frizell was offered a diversion after appearing in court on assault charges.
Frizell has been accused by police of assaulting two people, including a woman, at a Dunedin nightclub in May.
“I would like to take this opportunity to say how very sorry I am for my behaviour,” Frizell told journalists outside court.
The 27-year-old apologised to “the two people involved” and committed to a counselling process as a first-time offender.
NZ Rugby are yet to be drawn on his playing future, saying they would meet with Frizell later this week.
Frizell was granted bail and ordered not to consume alcohol or contact either victim until his next appearance in September.
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