New Zealand Rugby respond to reports of Australian-hosted Rugby Championship
NZ Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson said a host of options are being considered around what form domestic and international rugby in the Southern Hemisphere could take if it resumes this year.
However, he dismissed as “speculation” a media report that Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina could contest the Rugby Championship in the space of six weeks in the same Australian location.
The Sydney Morning Herald said the round-robin tournament, hosted by Australia for logistical reasons, was being considered as a means to deliver Test rugby. Perth was touted as a potential host city.
Robinson has said any playing of the Rugby Championship would be a complex process and would need to be co-ordinated with government regulations around health and travel.
“New Zealand Rugby is reviewing a range of competition options, both domestically and internationally, for when rugby is able to resume,” he said in a statement to AAP.
“However nothing has been decided and any decisions will be made in alignment with advice from the Government. At this stage, any competition options are purely speculative.”
The Rugby Championship is currently scheduled to start on August 8, when the Wallabies host the All Blacks in Melbourne.
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That date is looking increasingly in doubt, along with the July Tests in the southern hemisphere, when Australia are meant to play Ireland twice, and Fiji.
A resumption of Super Rugby, and in what format, is also under a cloud.
Rugby Australia’s general manager of professional services Ben Whitaker said there was collective will at SANZAAR to prioritise Test rugby’s return and that the quickfire event in Australia was one model being looked at.
“As soon as we get the okay from a community perspective to go, we will go,” Whitaker told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“If that means going into November or December depending on where we get to with July tests, we will consider that as well. Everyone is ready.”
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