Quarantine won't stop All Blacks hosting Wallabies: PM

Tanya Simon
September 16, 2020

RUGBY confirmed the All Blacks will host Australia for two Bledisloe Cup Tests next month after officials relaxed Covid-19 quarantine rules to ensure the series went ahead. "This is all new to everyone, taking players away for nine weeks where you can't get back.it's a big chunk of time and we're just working it through with players".

She said the risk profile for the Australians was different for teams in the wider Rugby Championship - South Africa and Argentina.

"I read that report yesterday and it was pretty frustrating that those headlines came out without any facts behind it", Foster said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has since move to allay Rennie's concerns, saying exceptions could be made so that the Wallabies would be able to resume full training sooner than the current framework allows.

Ardern told radio station Newstalk ZB she spoke to Morrison late on Monday to clear the air and said New Zealand would ease quarantine restrictions for the Wallabies to allow them to better prepare.

NZR want the first test to be held in Wellington on October 10, according to Stuff's rugby sources, but Wallabies coach Dave Rennie says that is unacceptable given New Zealand's quarantine protocols and wants the first test a week later on New Zealand's election day, October 17.

Ardern said the director general of health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, had advised that the Wallabies would now be able to start training after three days and as a full squad after six days, with previous protocols restricting the team to training in limited bubbles.

The Rugby Championship is due to kick-off on November 7 and be played across six consecutive weekends to December 12, though both Rugby Australia and NZ Rugby have indicated that the closing Tests could be brought forward, and midweek games also a possibility, to ensure All Blacks players would have time to complete quarantine on their return to New Zealand and be back with their families in time for Christmas.

Michael Hooper in action against the Melbourne Rebels 2020
Michael Hooper in action against the Melbourne Rebels 2020

"So, quarantine shouldn't be an issue".

With a further 13 players in the squad having fewer than 10 caps to their name and a new coach, preparation time will be key if the Wallabies are to regain the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 2002.

"There is no reason for them not to".

Foster refused to have a dig at Rennie after he threatened to not play the first test.

"They are contracted to go to at least one as part of the Bledisloe contracts".

"He's come out strong based on information about the quarantine".

"Now I think we've achieved that, when you look an equitable situation which is about giving two teams a fair chance at preparing".

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