NZ politician delivers barb at Wallabies

Daniel Gilhooly

New Zealand sports minister Grant Robertson has delivered a stinging gibe at the Wallabies before talking up the growing prospect of a Bledisloe Cup series this year.

Robertson said there was a desire from leaders on both sides of the Tasman for travel restrictions to be lifted in the second half of 2020, which would clear the way for a return to All Blacks-Wallabies hostilities.

However, he couldn't resist a chance to tease Australia over their lack of success in the rivalry, having failed to hold the Bledisloe Cup since 2003.

"It's one of the gags going around isnt it? That one of the best things about the coronavirus was that the Wallabies would have an unbeaten season," Robertson told Sky Sport, prompting laughter from former All Blacks greats Jeff Wilson and Mils Muliaina.

Robertson, who is also the country's finance minister, said the relative success of both countries in stamping out COVID-19 has kept the door open to sport relations resuming.

He said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern have emphasised they will be cautious until completely satisfied that a trans-Tasman bubble can function safely.

"I've heard Scott Morrison mention some time from July onwards," Robertson said.

"Wouldn't it be great in the second half of the year if we were able to get a decent Bledisloe Cup competition going.

"I know the cricketers have been talking about getting themselves over there as well.

"That's what we're working towards."