Rugby Australia has vowed to do “everything in its power” to find a “reasonable resolution” after New Zealand Rugby (NZR) refused to rule out boycotting the Rugby Championship.
NZR on Thursday stated it had not agreed to a schedule that is due to see the All Blacks play their last match of a six-week tournament on December 12, which would leave the players in quarantine for Christmas.
Mark Robinson, the NZR chief executive, said the fixture list broke a commitment from Rugby Australia and governing body SANZAAR for the All Blacks to play their final game of the competition on December 5 – enabling them to spend the festive period with their families.
Rugby Australia interim chief executive Rob Clarke says there is ample time to reach an agreement over the scheduling and is confident the four-team competition will be a success.
Clarke said: “For absolute clarity – on two formal occasions – Rugby Australia was supportive of altering the draw so that the Rugby Championship could be played over five weeks.
“On both occasions, that proposal was rejected which means there was never an agreement to finish the tournament on Saturday 5 December 2020.
“That being said, no one wants players and team management to be away from their families and in quarantine over Christmas.”
STATEMENT // @nzrugbyofficial has expressed its disappointment at the announcement of The Investec Rugby Championship schedule which has the All Blacks playing their last match in Australia on Saturday 12 December, which is a change from original planning. Head to allblacks.com for the full statement.
Clarke added: “Rugby Australia will do everything in its power to help assist New Zealand Rugby and the team in finding a reasonable resolution, and in urging them to exhaust every possible alternative.
“There are still more than two months to go before December 12 so we have plenty of time to find a solution.
“We will continue to work with New Zealand Rugby and support them however we can, just like we are doing with the Springboks and Argentina in assisting with their travel plans, as well as making their stay in Australia as safe and as comfortable as possible during the tournament.
“There have been a number of sacrifices made by each of the SANZAAR joint venture partners to get this far and I want to thank all of them for their flexibility and adaptability.
“There is obviously a lot to achieve in the coming months but I’m confident that under the leadership of each of the joint venture partners, that the 2020 Rugby Championship in Australia will be a great success.”
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