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New Zealand Rugby unhappy as SANZAAR releases 2020 Rugby Championship draw

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23rd September, 2020
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Sydney, Brisbane and Newcastle will host the 2020 Rugby Championship, which will run from November 7 to December 12, but New Zealand Rugby are unhappy with the fixture which has been announced by SANZAAR.

While the six-week tournament will provide rugby fans with a treat in the form of Saturday afternoon/night double-headers for a month and a half, NZR have hit out at the announcement, as the fixture will not allow them to be with their families for Christmas.

“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 to 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,” CEO Mark Robinson said.

“We understand the commercial considerations in the scheduling. However, the wellbeing of our people is an incredibly important factor in this also.

“We are committed to playing in the Rugby Championship and we know the scheduling of matches has been a complex and dynamic issue to work through, especially with quarantine protocols, but we haven’t agreed to this schedule and are disappointed at the announcement.”

According to Stuff rugby journalist Paul Cully, Rugby Australia had agreed to a five-week Rugby Championship to acquiesce with NZR’s request.


Rugby Australia has since issued a statement on the five-week proposal.

“For absolute clarity – on two formal occasions – Rugby Australia was supportive of altering the draw so that the Rugby Championship could be played over five weeks. On both occasions, that proposal was rejected which means there was never an agreement to finish the tournament on Saturday 5 December 2020,” Rugby Australia Interim Chief Executive Rob Clarke said.

“No one wants players and team management to be away from their families and in quarantine over Christmas. Rugby Australia will do everything in its power to help assist New Zealand Rugby and the team in finding a reasonable resolution.”

SANZAAR revealed the full fixtures for the tournament in a Thursday-morning announcement, confirming that all matches will be played as Saturday double-headers at the same venue.

Round 1, to be played at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, will begin with South Africa versus Argentina, the first match the Springboks have played since winning the World Cup in Japan last year. Australia versus New Zealand will conclude the day’s rugby in a match that doubles as Bledisloe 3.


The tournament then moves to New South Wales, with the remaining five matches to be variously hosted in Sydney at Bankwest Stadium and ANZ Stadium and Newcastle’s McDonald Jones Stadium. Among the fixtures are consecutive weeks of New Zealand versus Springboks Tests on the 21st and 28th of November.

The competition will conclude at ANZ Stadium with the same match-ups as Round 1.

“The Rugby Championship is one of the game’s showpiece events and includes some of the best rugby talent in the world,” SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos said.

“While the rescheduling and reconfiguration of the Super Rugby season has not been ideal all the member unions have been committed in getting rugby back on the field and the culmination of this will be the TRC in Australia.

“It is fantastic to be able to take matches to three cities – Brisbane, Newcastle and Sydney. The six double-header Saturdays are a first for the tournament and will produce an exciting feast of rugby for spectators at the venues who will actually be getting two world-class international Tests for the price of one entry ticket.”

The full fixtures for the tournament are as follows:

The Rugby Championship fixtures 2020

Round 1
Saturday November 7, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Argentina vs South Africa
Australia vs New Zealand


Round 2
Saturday November 14, Bankwest Stadium, Sydney
New Zealand vs Argentina
South Africa vs Australia

Round 3
Saturday November 21, ANZ Stadium, Sydney
New Zealand vs South Africa
Australia vs Argentina

Round 4
Saturday November 28, McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Argentina vs Australia
South Africa vs New Zealand

Round 5
Saturday December 5, Bankwest Stadium, Sydney
Argentina vs New Zealand
Australia vs South Africa

Round 6
Saturday December 12, ANZ Stadium, Sydney
South Africa vs Argentina
Australia vs New Zealand