'We haven't agreed to this schedule': NZR sucker-punched by Rugby Championship announcement
Following the announcement of The Rugby Championship schedule for 2020, which will be hosted in Australia, New Zealand Rugby have issued a statement suggesting that the timeline was not one that was agreed upon by the SANZAAR unions.
The final match of the competition will be played on December 12th. Restrictions in New Zealand require anyone travelling overseas to quarantine for two weeks upon their return – which would mean the All Blacks would not be released from isolation until December 26th at the earliest. This would keep the players from spending Christmas with their families.
NZR CEO Mark Robinson has hit out at the fixture list, suggesting that his union “haven’t agreed to this schedule and are disappointed at the announcement”.
The full release from NZR can be read below:
NZR has expressed its disappointment at the announcement of The Investec Rugby Championship schedule which has the All Blacks playing their last match in Australia on Saturday 12 December, which is a change from original planning.
SANZAAR has announced the match schedule for the Championship, with the All Blacks scheduled to play Australia in Brisbane on Saturday 7 November and Argentina the following Saturday in Sydney on 14 November. The team is then scheduled to play back to back Tests against South Africa in Sydney on 21 November and Newcastle on Saturday 28 November, with a second Test against Argentina on Saturday 5 December in Sydney and a final scheduled match against the Wallabies in Sydney on Saturday 12 December.
NZR CEO Mark Robinson said: “We were working on the understanding and all our planning and scheduling was on the basis that the All Blacks last match would be on December 5 to give our players and management time to get home, undertake the 14 days’ quarantine back in New Zealand, and then be with their families for Christmas, as will be the case for the other three teams in the Tournament.
“We understand the commercial considerations in the scheduling. However, the wellbeing of our people is an incredibly important factor in this also.
“We are committed to playing in the Rugby Championship and we know the scheduling of matches has been a complex and dynamic issue to work through, especially with quarantine protocols, but we haven’t agreed to this schedule and are disappointed at the announcement.
“We will now work through the issues with Rugby Australia and SANZAAR and believe that there are other solutions within the Rugby Championship window,” Robinson said.
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now