Bledisloe Cup set to continue after Australian players granted exemption by New Zealand

Australian players are expected to move from Queensland to Auckland through a chartered flight on Friday.
Australian players are expected to move from Queensland to Auckland through a chartered flight on Friday.

The Bledisloe Cup clash will kick-start in New Zealand after the government had granted a travel exemption to Australian players.

The tournament was initially in doubt after the New Zealand government imposed an eight-week ban on the trans-Tasman travel due to rise in Covid cases in Australia but the acting minister for Covid-19 response Ayesha Verrall handed clearance to the Wallabies camp, who have been in quarantine in Queensland since the conclusion of three-match Test series against France.

New Zealand Sport Minister Grant Robertson said the matches are vital for the revival of the country's economy.

"This decision was not taken lightly ... Test rugby between the All Blacks and the Wallabies is keenly anticipated by New Zealanders," he said.

"A Test match is estimated to be worth between $17-20 million in spending for host regions, while the broadcast rights provide much needed income for the sport, which positively effects all levels of the game."

The Australian players are expected to fly from Queensland on a chartered flight to Auckland on Friday ahead of the opening Test between the two sides on 7th August at Eden Park with a negative Covid test result mandatory within 72 hours of their travel.

Meanwhile, there are still discussions on hosting the second Bledisloe Cup in Wellington.

According to the original schedule, following the game at Eden Park, the teams will head to Perth for the Rugby Championship opener on 21st August before the teams face each other one last time this year at Sky Stadium in Wellington on 28th August.

However, the new Covid restrictions meant the boards are discussing on the possibility of playing the first two games in New Zealand before heading to Australia for the final Bledisloe Cup game. The match in Wellington might be forced to play as a mid-week fixture or a Sunday encounter due to the Beervana which is being held at Sky Stadium on 13th and 14th August.