New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has announced the All Blacks’ two home Fortinet Rugby Championship Tests against South Africa and the Black Ferns two O’Reilly Cup Tests against the Wallaroos will not be played in New Zealand.
The decision follows advice from Government that the Springboks and Wallaroos would not be able to enter New Zealand to play the matches due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The All Blacks were scheduled to play South Africa at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday 25 September, and at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday 2 October. The Black Ferns were scheduled to play the Wallaroos at Rugby Park, Christchurch, on Sunday 26 September and at Eden Park as part of a double header with the All Blacks.
NZR has also confirmed that, given the current uncertainty over The Rugby Championship schedule, it has made the decision not to send the All Blacks to Perth this weekend for the third Bledisloe Cup Test which was scheduled to be played at Optus Stadium on Saturday 28 August.
Ticket holders for the matches in Auckland and Dunedin will receive a full refund and will be contacted by the respective ticket providers in due course – Ticketek for Forysth Barr Stadium, and Ticketmaster for Eden Park.
New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson said every effort had been made to keep the two Tests in New Zealand.
“We share the disappointment of our fans, players and other stakeholders, particularly those in Dunedin where the sold-out 100th Test between the All Blacks and South Africa was shaping up as a very special occasion.
“However, after discussions with Government, it is clear that the COVID-19 travel restrictions meant there was no way of bringing the South African and Wallaroos squads into New Zealand and we understand the importance of putting the health and safety of New Zealanders first.
Speaking on the decision to not have the All Blacks travel to Perth this weekend, Robinson said:
“Without complete certainty on the team’s next movements around The Rugby Championship we felt it was prudent for the team to stay put in New Zealand until SANZAAR have announced the full tournament schedule.
“Once the team leaves our shores, they currently can’t return until November 23 post their Northern Tour, so given the uncertainty, it makes sense to pause and get more clarity on these fixtures.
“We remain 100 percent committed to playing in the entire Fortinet Rugby Championship in 2021 and are working closely with SANZAAR to look at a range of options to reschedule these important matches.”
SANZAAR would make further announcements around the Rugby Championship schedule in due course.