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Dunedin has put its hand up to host Rugby Championship games.
Following recent speculation, Sanzaar chief executive Andy Marinos yesterday announced the organisation was planning to host the 2020 tournament in New Zealand.
There is still some hurdles to get over. Sanzaar is seeking New Zealand Government approval.
But Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson said the Government was keen to investigate whether the tournament could be staged safely.
"We are open to the idea of hosting these international games here, but of course we will need to ensure they can be held safely and we have the appropriate facilities available so that players can isolate and train upon entry to New Zealand," Robertson said.
"These kinds of economics opportunities are what we expect, given the advantage New Zealand has because of the Government’s decision to go hard and early in the response to Covid-19."
Dunedin Venues Management Ltd chief executive Terry Davies welcomed the development.
"We would always look at an opportunity to host more matches under the roof," he told the Otago Daily Times.
"Fans have been over the moon to return to live sport and we’d expect great support for these matches."
The Rugby Championship involves a series of games between New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina.
Due to the border restrictions, the Government would need to grant exemptions for the international teams to enter the country.
The overseas players would be required to go into quarantine for 14 days.
No dates were indicated, but October and November appear as the most likely playing window.
Marinos said in a statement Covid-19 had "forced a rethink on the Super Rugby competition and The Rugby Championship".
But having successfully restarted Super Rugby in Australia and New Zealand, "our focus is now on The Rugby Championship that is set to be played in one central location".
"We have determined that New Zealand is currently the favoured option, given the Covid stability within the region."
Planning is well advanced and it is expected further details will be announced soon. — Additional reporting The New Zealand Herald