New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has confirmed the first Bledisloe Cup Series Test between the All Blacks and Australia is still scheduled for Saturday, 7 August at Eden Park in Auckland.
NZR is working with the New Zealand Government to finalise confirmation of a travel exemption for the Australian team to travel to New Zealand this week to prepare for the match.
NZR General Manager Professional Rugby & Performance Chris Lendrum said contingency plans were progressing positively following Friday’s (23 July) announcement of an eight-week pause of the trans-Tasman travel bubble.
“There are some obvious logistical challenges for the Bledisloe Cup Series and The Rugby Championship, but we have made some great progress and are confident we are moving toward a positive outcome.
“Importantly, we are anticipating Australia will be in New Zealand this week to prepare for the first Bledisloe Cup Test at Eden Park, which is great news for the large number of fans who have already bought tickets and great news for Auckland and Eden Park.
“We are also confident Australia will be able to remain in New Zealand to play a second Bledisloe Cup Test and we’re working through the details of what that match looks like with the intention of locking in the details this week.”
SANZAAR along with its member national unions – NZR, RA, South Africa Rugby and Argentina Rugby Union – will announce any potential and necessary changes to the tournament schedule in due course.
Matches likely to be affected by the eight-week trans-Tasman travel pause include the All Blacks second Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia, currently scheduled to be played in Wellington on 28 August, and two Tests against Argentina, in Auckland, on 11 September, and in Wellington on 18 September.
“There are a lot of moving parts, but together with our Sanzaar partners a lot of people are working incredibly hard to ensure both competitions can progress in a way that’s safe and fair, as well as in the best interests of fans and other stakeholders,” Lendrum said. “As always our decisions will continue be guided by the advice of relevant Government and health authorities with the health and safety of our people at the forefront of any decisions.”