New Zealand's Rugby Championship games against Argentina set to be shifted to Australia

All Blacks are hopeful of playing first two Bledisloe Cup games against Australia in New Zealand
All Blacks are hopeful of playing first two Bledisloe Cup games against Australia in New Zealand
©Steve Haag

New Zealand Rugby has revealed that they are likely to play the Rugby Championship games against Argentina in Australia following the travel restrictions imposed in New Zealand due to Covid.

The All Blacks were originally scheduled to host the Pumas at Eden Park and Sky Stadium on 11th and 18th September respectively but the trans-Tasman travel ban announced by the New Zealand government for eight weeks has put the tournament in doubt.

Nevertheless, NZR general manager professional rugby and performance Chris Lendrum said playing the games in Australia could be the contingency plan if they do not receive necessary clearance from the government.

"At this stage we would be planning on remaining in Australia and the two All Blacks versus Argentina tests, which were scheduled to be played in New Zealand previously, will be played in Australia," Lendrum said.

"That's our expectation at the moment. We don't see any way we would be able to bring Argentina into New Zealand for those two games.

"It's tremendously disappointing but we've been living like this sadly for at least the last 12-15 months so it's not a surprise, it's just what you have to work with.

"We would love to have had Argentina at home after two fiercely competitive games in Australia last year. That's not to be."

Lendrum also added that the opening game of Bledisloe Cup Test scheduled for 7th August at Eden Park is still on schedule and are working with Rugby Australia and the New Zealand government to schedule the second game also in the country before heading back to Australia for the third match of the series.

However, with the Beervana event scheduled for Sky Stadium on 13th and 14th August, they might be forced to play a mid-week game or on Sunday.

"It's out strong intention to have a Bledisloe fixture in Wellington this year but there are some stadium availability issues on the 14th there," NZR head of professional rugby Chris Lendrum said.

"We just need to keep working with Rugby Australia, Sanzaar and the stadium to see what we can do there. I wouldn't rule out a mid-week fixture either if that's what suits all parties.

"We are also keen to get to Australia to play that third fixture. Covid has taught us in these times you have to compromise with the order of things to make everything work and get the games played.

"It's not ideal we now have to contemplate two games in New Zealand and one in Australia but that is the way it looks like it will be.

"We're still only 72 hours into this. We know we've got a confirmed fixture on the 7th and we've got a bit of time to work through things but we're hoping to confirm a date and venue for that second game in New Zealand before the end of the week."