All Blacks call off Perth Bledisloe Test amid Covid 'uncertainty'

·4-min read
Pictured here, the All Blacks celebrate after retaining the Bledisloe Cup in 2021.
New Zealand Rugby have announced they won't send the All Blacks to Australia amid the fresh Covid-19 uncertainty. Pic: AAP

The third Bledisloe Cup Test between the All Blacks and Wallabies in Perth has been called off in a move that throws the Rugby Championship into disarray.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has announced on Friday that it would not be sending the Wallabies to Australia due to the "uncertainty" brought about by the latest Covid-19 situation.

ABANDONED': Staggering details in stabbing of Wallabies legend

ROUGH: The ugly truth facing Wallabies after record Bledisloe Cup mauling

The All Blacks were initially scheduled to fly to Perth on Sunday in preparation for the third Bledisloe Cup clash at Optus Stadium on August 28, which also doubled as a Rugby Championship fixture.

But with NZ in lockdown and the complexities of getting a team to Perth with enough time to quarantine before the match, NZR announced the All Blacks won't be heading to Perth.

NZR also announced the All Blacks' two home Tests against South Africa won't be played in NZ given the Springboks won't be granted entry due to travel restrictions.

The All Blacks were due to play South Africa in Dunedin on September 25 and in Auckland on October 2.

The Black Ferns' two Tests against the Wallaroos in NZ have also been canned.

The whole of NZ is currently in lockdown following a COVID-19 outbreak.

"Without complete certainty on the team's next movements around the Rugby Championship we felt it was prudent for the team to stay put in New Zealand until SANZAAR have announced the full tournament schedule," NZR chief executive Mark Robinson said.

"Once the team leaves our shores, they currently can't return until November 23 post their Northern Tour, so given the uncertainty it makes sense to pause and get more clarity on these fixtures.

"We remain 100 per cent committed to playing in the entire Rugby Championship in 2021 and are working closely with SANZAAR to look at a range of options to reschedule these important matches."

WA Premier Mark McGowan gave no assurances that the Test would go ahead when he spoke with reporters earlier in the week to discuss the quarantine bubble the All Blacks would have had to enter when they arrived in Australia.

It meant that while isolated in hotels, players would have been allowed out to train and to play but the premier refused to confirm whether the Kiwis would be offered similar exemptions to those the Wallabies were afforded in New Zealand.

All Blacks captain Sam Whitelock holds the Bledisloe Cup after a resounding second straight win at Eden Park.
The All Blacks retained the Bledisloe Cup after a resounding second straight win at Eden Park. Pic: Getty

Rugby Championship plans in disarray

"We are not sure," McGowan said when asked about the situation by reporters on Wednesday.

"Maybe we have to work out some arrangement, or there may be a bubble, or they just have to comply with the rules that exist for everybody else.

"It's a moving situation and we're trying to work out exactly what can be done about that.

"That would be very disappointing for rugby fans if we're forced to cancel the game but that's the nature of the world we're in."

The Wallabies landed in Perth last Sunday and it's unclear what their next move is now that the Bledisloe Cup blockbuster in WA won't go ahead.

Queensland looms as an option to play the game - as well as the other Rugby Championship fixtures - but much will depend on what quarantine requirements will be imposed.

If the Queensland government doesn't allow teams to train during their 14-day quarantine period, there's talk the four-nation Rugby Championship, which also involves Argentina, could be moved to Europe.

That will allow teams like Australia and NZ to complete the Rugby Championship before embarking on their northern hemisphere tours.

South Africa is another option to host the Rugby Championship, but that seems more unlikely given that games would probably be played in empty stadiums.

with AAP

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting