The postponed All Blacks-Wallabies Bledisloe Cup Test is expected to be played on September 3 or 4 in Perth with the rest of The Rugby Championship to be completed across a glorious month of double headers in Queensland.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has confirmed games will be played in Brisbane, Townsville and the Gold Coast, ending speculation that games might be moved to Europe or South Africa.
She said the tournament will feature four double-headers running from September 12 to October 2.
Organising body SANZAAR released the game dates in a statement.
“SANZAAR today confirmed major changes to The Rugby Championship (TRC) match schedule. This is in response to the ongoing impact of the pandemic and the subsequent tightening of regulations placed on travel and quarantine by various state and national governments due to the latest outbreaks of COVID-19 in Australia and New Zealand.
“Despite these challenges, SANZAAR can today confirm that eight matches of the tournament will now be staged in Queensland after SANZAAR and the national unions were able to agree to suitable travel, accommodation and quarantine arrangements as regulated by the Queensland state government.
“The outstanding second-round match, Australia versus New Zealand, that was due to be played in Perth on Saturday 28 August will be played in the city at Optus Stadium with confirmation of the match date to be announced in the next few days.
“Unfortunately, this means there will be no matches played in New South Wales (Sydney and Newcastle), Australian Capital Territory (Canberra) or New Zealand (Auckland and Dunedin) as previously scheduled.
“SANZAAR CEO Brendan Morris stated, “We thought last year was tough when we had to implement a Tri-nations tournament in Australia with South Africa absent due to the pandemic, but the current disruption caused by the ‘delta variant’ of COVID-19 has seen government authorities tighten up border bio-security measures substantially.
“This is totally understandable but after exploring several options, including moving the tournament to South Africa and even Europe, we now look forward with excitement to the remainder of The Rugby Championship in Queensland. Indeed, I am delighted on behalf of the SANZAAR stakeholders that we can now complete this world-class rugby tournament.”
“We are very excited about this unique format and rugby experience as we look to deliver a month of “Double Headers” with the world’s best players in Queensland, something never done in international rugby before.”
“On behalf of SANZAAR and the national unions, I would like to sincerely thank the Queensland Government for working with us and providing a travel, accommodation, training and playing environment that will allow us to safely complete the tournament. SANZAAR and the National Unions will now work closely with the states’ health authorities to ensure all bio-security measures are adhered to.”
“I personally want to thank Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young, as well as John Lee of the Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport, and their respective departments for their tireless efforts in supporting this tournament.”
Rugby Australia said fans holding tickets for games that have been moved will be refunded.
Ticketholders for the previously scheduled matches in Sydney, Newcastle and Canberra will be refunded.
Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos added: “This is a world Rugby first and a truly special celebration of the game, in what I see as a once-in-a-lifetime event.
“We can’t thank Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk enough, as well as Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young and John Lee of the Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport and their respective departments for their support in making this tournament possible.
“What a fantastic tournament ahead for fans in Queensland. Four unmissable back-to-back double-headers featuring four of the very best Test nations in World Rugby – all in Queensland’s backyard.”
Bledisloe 3/Rugby Championship fixtures
|Australia vs New Zealand||Optus Stadium||Sun September 5||4pm (AEST)|
|New Zealand vs Argentina||Cbus Super Stadium||Sun Sep 12||TBC|
|South Africa vs Australia||TBC|
|Argentina vs New Zealand||Suncorp Stadium||Sat Sep 18||TBC|
|Australia vs South Africa||TBC|
|Australia vs Argentina||QCB Stadium||Sat Sep 25||TBC|
|New Zealand vs South Africa||TBC|
|Argentina vs Australia||Cbus Super Stadium||Sat Oct 2||TBC|
|South Africa vs New Zealand||TBC|