Two Australian tests in Auckland, Boks still in Dunedin for now

Wellington's Bledisloe Cup match has been transferred to Auckland but there is no fresh news on the Rugby Championship test scheduled for Dunedin next month.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) yesterday announced the decision to move the Bledisloe fixture to Eden Park, which now means Auckland will host back-to-back Bledisloe Cup matches against Australia this Saturday and next.

The Wellington game was initially scheduled for August 28 but has been brought forward by two weeks.

Logistics and Covid-19 are to blame.

With the transtasman travel bubble on pause, it is not longer possible to travel freely from Australia to New Zealand.

The Australian rugby team was granted economic exemption to enter the country for the opening game of the series at Eden Park on Saturday.

It would not have been able to leave and return again, so when and where the second home fixture was to be played had to be reimagined.

‘‘The news [about the travel bubble pause] came through on Friday a week ago, obviously, and we had to move as quickly as we could,’’ NZR chief executive Mark Robinson said.

‘‘Both national unions, New Zealand and Australia, have had to make changes to their schedules and work really closely with Sanzaar.

‘‘Ultimately, over the course of the last eight or nine days, this is where we’ve landed.’’

Robinson said while it was disappointing for Wellington and rugby fans in the region, ‘‘the more we looked at it and weighed up all the different factors, it became a decision that we had to play on the Saturday and that led us to Eden Park’’.

There had been talk about hosting the test in Wellington on Sunday, August 15, when the venue was free .

‘‘It is not the perfect scenario ... but on the flip side of this we are incredibly grateful, when we look around the world, we are playing sport in front of large crowds in a country that is relatively unimpacted at this stage around viewing big events like this.

‘‘That is something we’ve all got to take heart from and be excited about.’’

NZR confirmed the revised schedule means New Zealand will not be hosting the two Rugby Championship tests against Argentina, which had been scheduled for Auckland on September 11 and Wellington on September 18.

Those games will be played in Australia instead. The details will be announced in due course.

However, NZR is continuing to plan for the two home Rugby Championship games against South Africa, in Dunedin on September 25 and at Eden Park on October 2.

Robinson did not want to drawn on ‘‘what-ifs’’ but if the transtasman travel bubble pause is extended, South Africa will not be able to enter New Zealand to play those games.

‘‘If the travel pause is lifted when it is expected to, then they will be able to come into New Zealand the same time as the All Blacks do.’’

NZR has also confirmed cyber security solutions company Fortinet as the Rugby Championship’s new naming rights partner.

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