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New Zealand pushing to co-host Rugby Championship

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
30th March, 2021
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New Zealand are looking to co-host this year’s Rugby Championship with a southern hemisphere partner, but South Africa have ruled themselves out and Australia want to go it alone.

Last year’s Rugby Championship was held entirely in Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic although it was rebranded the “Tri-Nations” after world champions South Africa pulled out.

South Africa, who are scheduled to host the British and Irish Lions tour in July-August, do not want to be involved in co-hosting the four-nation Rugby Championship, NZR boss Mark Robinson told reporters in Wellington.

“At this stage, they have signalled that they don’t wish to host the Rugby Championship this year,” he said.

“Our view at the moment is there may be a great opportunity to do a co-hosting format.

“We’ve got games the All Blacks are involved in we’d love to host in New Zealand, so that’ll be something we’re working towards.

“But ultimately that’s a decision for SANZAAR to make with the feedback of its joint venture partners.”

Australia have already said they are pushing to host the entire Championship, which is likely to be staged in September-October.

Robinson said New Zealand was focused on hosting the 100th match against the Springboks, 100 years on from their first clash in Dunedin in 1921.

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He added RNZ would wait another two to three weeks before making a decision on whether to push on with the Trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition with Australia’s teams.

The five-week tournament is scheduled to start on May 14 in Dunedin but quarantine requirements in New Zealand for travellers from Australia could make it untenable.

New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said earlier this month the country was close to allowing Australians to visit without quarantining on arrival.

© AAP