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Boks Rugby championship matches still not confirmed

South Africa’s Castle Lager Rugby Championship matches are still in the balance because of the new Covid outbreak in Australia and the travel restrictions facing the country over the next month.

While the Rugby Championship will kick off with two games against Argentina in Port Elizabeth, Sanzaar moved to shift some other games from New Zealand to Australia because of the suspension of travel between the two countries.

And as a result, the Boks’ matches against Australia and New Zealand still hang in the balance of whatever the travel restrictions bring over the next few weeks.

Sanzaar released a statement Tuesday which mainly was around the Bledisloe Cup games, but also shifted New Zealand’s games against Argentina to be played in Australia. While the Bok games have been scheduled, they are still to be confirmed because of the travel restrictions.

“Following the New Zealand Government’s decision to suspend travel between New Zealand and Australia for eight weeks from Friday, July 23, SANZAAR has made amendments to The Rugby Championship (TRC) match schedule and can now confirm the dates and venues for the first four matches. SANZAAR continues to work with its stakeholders on the remaining scheduled matches and will confirm these fixtures in due course,” the Sanzaar statement said.

“The revised schedule will see Australia remain in New Zealand after its Bledisloe Cup match against New Zealand in Auckland on Saturday 7 August, and play the All Blacks at the same venue a week later on 14 August. The two teams will then travel to Perth for the return match at Optus Stadium on Saturday 28 August. The two South Africa versus Argentina matches remain as per schedule with both to be played in Port Elizabeth on August 14 and 21 respectively.

“Furthermore, due to the ongoing travel restrictions that exist between Australia and New Zealand, SANZAAR can confirm that the two New Zealand versus Argentina TRC matches, previously scheduled in New Zealand, will now be played in Australia. SANZAAR is working with Rugby Australia and other stakeholders on the details of these two matches and will confirm the dates and venues for these along with the remaining matches.”

The likelihood is that the Bok matches will all be played in a bio bubble in Australia with the games’ venues likely to be confirmed in the next few weeks.

SANZAAR CEO Brendan Morris said, “Once again the pandemic threw us a challenge in terms of our match schedule but we are delighted that a solution has been found for the two Australia versus New Zealand matches despite the restrictions on travel between the two countries. The All Blacks and Wallabies will play back-to-back weekends in Auckland with the second match on Saturday 14 August being the opening round of The Rugby Championship.”

“New Zealand will now travel to Australia for the return match in Perth on Saturday 28 August. We realise this is a week later than originally scheduled for Perth rugby fans with tickets but the pandemic and changing government health and travel regulations now in place have made our task difficult. SANZAAR also understands the disappointment for Wellington rugby fans who will now miss out on New Zealand versus Australia and New Zealand versus Argentina matches due to the rescheduling.”

“We now turn our attention to the remaining eight scheduled matches. We continue to monitor the pandemic and government and health authority regulations, and are currently working through several options for these matches if any changes are required, including the New Zealand versus Argentina matches. SANZAAR would like to thank its member national unions and the government agencies it has been working with for their assistance and flexibility so far, and we look forward to confirming the venues and dates for the remaining matches in the near future,” added Morris.

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