Senior Wallabies knew of NZR withdrawal claims Robinson
NZR CEO Mark Robinson has said that senior Wallabies were aware of New Zealand Rugby’s (NZR) plans not to fly to Perth and that claims that Rugby Australia were not informed of the withdrawal were ‘not true’.
The NZR have come under heavy criticism for their last-minute withdrawl from the third Bledisloe Test, a decision branded as disrespectful and selfish by Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie and described as a ‘unilateral’ decision by Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos. The decision has thrown the future of this year’s Rugby Championship into the air, with both New Zealand and Australia imposing significant travel restrictions, casting major doubt over the tournament.
“It’s incredibly disappointing to be informed of this decision via the media, despite having a conversation with the CEO moments before and there (was) no mention that this was the intention,” Marinos said yesterday.
Rennie described himself as ‘bloody’ angry. “It’s disappointing how it’s been communicated. Our boys all found out through social medial. I’m not sure shocked is the right word, because I’m not surprised.”
“I just feel there’s only one of us who are interested in doing what’s best for the game,” Rennie said.
Now Robinson has defended the decision, saying that the Wallabies did not learn of the decision through social media.
“We tried to give Rugby Australia as much time as possible, until Friday afternoon, to have quarantine tidied up with Queensland,” Robinson told in an interview with Newstalk ZB in New Zealand. “That was unable to be achieved and, therefore, we weren’t really able to get on a plane.
“Certainly I know that senior All Blacks and Wallabies were discussing the situation and our players were making them aware of the reality of our situation. It’s a shame that couldn’t get back to Dave and some of the people he’s referring to.
“We had calls right through from Wednesday, Thursday, we put something in writing on Thursday and then we spoke to them before anything was released.
“We understand that Rugby Australia are under severe financial pressure. This is an important game for them and we are committed to playing that match. The reality is, under those circumstances, that frustration manifests with what we saw yesterday; a lot of emotion, a lot of frustration, sometimes possibly not all the information, and that’s the result of that.”
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Speaking on Sky NZ’s Breakdown, Robinson said he felt sympathy for Rugby Australia. “We have a huge amount of sympathy for the impact it has on them. As I said at the outset, we are absolutely committed to playing that game at some stage.
“Getting into a whole lot of speculation around who said what and when, doesn’t really help and doesn’t move forward.
“What we’re trying to do is find a solution to a situation that balances our need to look after our people, with our commitment to make this tournament go ahead.”
The possibility of moving the rest of the Rugby Championship to Europe or South Africa hosting all the remaining games are some of the options still on the table as organizers seek to find a resolution to the head ache.
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