By NZ Herald

New Zealand Rugby boss Mark Robinson is staying positive about the prospects of bringing All Blacks players involved in the Rugby Championship back home in time for Christmas.

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On Thursday the fixtures for this year’s COVID-affected tournament were announced by SANZAAR and Rugby Australia (RA) and appeared to have dealt a blow to New Zealand Rugby (NZR) by not allowing players enough time to return to their families in time for the festive season.

As it stands, New Zealand’s players and management won’t be home in time for Christmas Day due to the final test between the All Blacks and Wallabies being played in Sydney on December 12.

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The Aussie Rugby Show | Episode 19

If the All Blacks return home a day later, the earliest they will see their families after the standard fortnight of quarantine is December 27.

The announcement appeared to have blindsided NZR with Robinson admitting to media that the organisation had made all their plans based on a final fixture for the All Blacks on December 5.

Despite the setback and ongoing tension between the organisations involved, Robinson told Martin Devlin on Newstalk ZB on Saturday that he remains optimistic a happy resolution can be found for this particular issue.

“I think we can work through it… from our perspective, and I’m sure the Australians are the same, there’s not a lot to be gained by going over the last six, 10, 12 weeks.

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“This issue, as it relates to this specific tournament and the challenge of getting the team home by Christmas, is a seperate issue altogether to all the other narrative that’s been put out there.

“I’m really encouraged hearing Rugby Australia’s comments over the last two days, they’re very committed to trying to find a resolution to this, to get the All Blacks home by Christmas.”

Robinson indicated that NZR is preparing multiple propositions to bring to Sanzaar and RA, who they believe are open to compromise.

“I think they’re showing intent through their public comments just as we are, and as we are through the dialogue we’ve had since Thursday via email, about trying to signal that we are looking to put some solutions on the table shortly.”

Rugby Championship 2020 fixtures

Round One – Saturday 7 November 2020

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Argentina v South Africa
Australia v New Zealand

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Round Two – Saturday 14 November

Bankwest Stadium, Sydney

New Zealand v Argentina
South Africa v Australia

Round Three – Saturday 21 November

ANZ Stadium, Sydney

New Zealand v South Africa
Australia v Argentina

Round Four – Saturday 28 November

McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle

Argentina v Australia
South Africa v New Zealand

Round Five – Saturday 5 December

Bankwest Stadium, Sydney

Argentina v New Zealand
Australia v South Africa

Round Six – Saturday 12 December

ANZ Stadium, Sydney

South Africa v Argentina
Australia v New Zealand

This article first appeared on nzherald.co.nz and was republished with permission.

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