New Zealand Rugby has shifted game two of the Bledisloe Cup series against Australia north to their house of pain, Auckland’s Eden Park.
The Wallabies will get two chances to break their Eden Park hoodoo this month after New Zealand Rugby (NZR) moved the second trans-Tasman clash from Wellington to Auckland.
In response to New Zealand’s new border settings, New Zealand will now host back-to-back Tests at Eden Park – where the All Blacks have won 20 straight against Australia – on August 7 and 14.
“Circumstances are out of our hands with what’s happened at the borders,” NZR chief executive Mark Robinson said.
“That’s not something we have been able to influence.”
The third and only Australia-hosted Bledisloe Cup Test in the three-match series has been shifted back a week and will now be played on August 28 at Perth’s Optus Stadium.
The series was originally scheduled to start in Auckland, head to Perth for Test two and conclude at Wellington’s Sky Stadium, where the Wallabies drew 16-16 with New Zealand last year.
The difficulties of entering New Zealand has necessitated playing two Tests to start the series, meaning the All Blacks could wrap up the Bledisloe before the series arrived in Australia.
Robinson denied it was unfair, or that Eden Park had been selected because of the Wallabies’ abysmal record there.
An existing booking for a craft beer festival at Sky Stadium on August 14 meant NZR would have had to play on Sunday if they were to play in the capital.
“The game would have had to be played quite late … when we weighed up all the different moving parts this is where we ended up,” Robinson said.
No current Wallabies squad member was alive when Australia last won a Test at Eden Park, in 1986.
Robinson confirmed the All Blacks’ two Rugby Championship matches with Argentina would be played in Australia, but NZR still hopes to bring South Africa to New Zealand later in the season.