Australia to play two Bledisloe Cup matches in New Zealand in October

New Zealand have been winners of Bledisloe Cup since 2002
New Zealand have been winners of Bledisloe Cup since 2002
©Steve Haag

New Zealand Rugby has confirmed that they will be hosting the first two Bledisloe Cup matches against the Wallabies following the SANZAAR's decision to opt for Australia as the venue for the Rugby Championship tournament.

The two matches will be played in October prior to the kick-start of the Rugby Championship tournament with the venues for the games to be announced in due course.

Earlier, New Zealand were the favourites to host the Rugby Championship tournament following World Rugby's recommendation to play the competition in a single country as opposed to their traditional home and away fixtures. However, New Zealand government's increase in restrictions has prompted SANZAAR to opt for Australia.

"We're obviously disappointed at the decision to not have New Zealand host the tournament, but we understand and accept it," said NZR chief executive Mark Robinson.

"Now that the decision has been made, we're looking forward to seeing the All Blacks again take on the best of the Southern Hemisphere.

"We worked incredibly hard behind the scenes with a whole range of stakeholders, including SANZAAR and the New Zealand Government, to ensure we were ready and able to host the Championship and we felt we were.

"We'd like to thank everyone involved for working so hard on the planning to have the tournament here."

While New Zealand and Australia have been active with their respective domestic competitions, South Africa and Argentina are yet to confirm their participation in the Rugby Championship.

South Africa are expected to play competitive games next month while Argentina recently reported 11 players and four staff test positive for Covid-19 during their preparation at a training camp.