New Zealand Rugby has cast doubt over the scheduling of the upcoming Rugby Championship after insisting they never agreed to a plan that would see their stars forced to spend Christmas in quarantine, away from their families.
The All Blacks are crying foul over the Rugby Championship planning, after finding out their final match of the tournament against Australia is on December 12 - less than two weeks before Christmas.
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New Zealand Rugby released a statement on Thursday following the draw announcement saying the schedule had changed from the original plan, which had the last match set down for December 5 rather than December 12.
The earlier date would have allowed New Zealand players to compulsory quarantine for two weeks and be out in time for Christmas, rather than December 27.
"We were working on the understanding and all our planning and scheduling was on the basis that the All Blacks last match would be on December 5," NZR chief executive Mark Robinson said in a statement.
"(This would) give our players and management time to get home, undertake the 14 days' quarantine back in New Zealand, and then be with their families for Christmas, as will be the case for the other three teams in the tournament.
"We understand the commercial considerations in the scheduling. However, the wellbeing of our people is an incredibly important factor in this also.
"We haven't agreed to this schedule and are disappointed at the announcement."
Robinson said they were still committed to playing in the Rugby Championship and planned to work with Rugby Australia and SANZAAR to find a solution.
The situation has led to mixed responses on social media, with some fans outraged and others believing it's a small sacrifice to make during a challenging time.
News Corp rugby writer Jamie Pandaram labelled the sorry situation “embarrassingly inept”.
STATEMENT | @NZRugby 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, a change from original planning.— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) September 23, 2020
DETAILS ➡️ https://t.co/vQzw382XEe pic.twitter.com/9HW3mMbOdT
Refuse to play the last game and come home early. The Wallabies made it very clear they weren’t going to play the earlier date in NZ so do the same.— TwA75 (@TwAck75) September 24, 2020
Many sporting teams and players around the world haven’t had stuff go their way whilst having to make sacrifices. Time to just suck it up and get on with it, we’re the ALL BLACKS! No time for excuses or complaints.....just get out there and DOMINATE!— Tennessee Kell🎩 (@PrimeTimeTenna) September 23, 2020
I think the NZRFU should state the game has to occur before 10 december or not attend. That prevents the AB players being denied xmas with their families— Troy Marshall (@Olorin007nz) September 23, 2020
Ohhh diddums...— Michael (@Michael_lucky67) September 23, 2020
You guys are serial whiners— Chris Barr (@cbarr213) September 23, 2020
Ahhh, just lock in both cups before 12 December and send a F-side for the last game against the Wallabies...— Rogue Inc. (@RogueX10) September 23, 2020
The All Blacks should have the RC in the bag by Dec 5 anyway and can send all the family men home a week early. Gives them an incentive to go 5-0 before then.— Marc Hinton (@marchintonffx) September 23, 2020
Will they all get together to have a team crying session ?— Gavin Bea (@gavinbnz) September 23, 2020
How about the sacrifices non-millionaires with real jobs make
Schedule set for Rugby Championship
Saturday, November 7 - Argentina v South Africa, Australia v NZ at Brisbane
Saturday, November 14 - NZ v Argentina, South Africa v Australia at Sydney
Saturday, November 21 - NZ v South Africa, Australia v Argentina at Sydney
Saturday, November 28 - Argentina v Australia, South Africa v NZ at Newcastle
Saturday, December 5 - Argentina v NZ, Australia v South Africa at Sydney
Saturday, December 12 - South Africa v Argentina, Australia v NZ
with Yahoo Sport staff