All Blacks’ home Tests against Argentina dropped in virus revamp

The All Blacks will play back-to-back Tests against the Wallabies in Auckland and forfeit hosting Tests against Argentina after a Covid-19 outbreak in Australia forced a revamp of the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship series.

The new schedule was released on Tuesday after the original programme was thrown into chaos when New Zealand suspended quarantine-free travel with Australia.

The first two Bledisloe Cup Tests will now be played in Auckland over the next two weekends and the third, which was to have been held in Wellington on 28 August, has been shifted to Perth.

Rather than have players face two weeks in quarantine on their return to New Zealand, they will remain in Australia to play their scheduled 11 and 18 September Rugby Championship Tests against Argentina.

The revised schedule still allowed for the Tests against South Africa on 25 September and 2 October to be played in New Zealand although this could change if the Covid-19 outbreak in Australia continues.

New Zealand Rugby boss Mark Robinson believes it was the best possible arrangement.

“Unfortunately, circumstances are out of our hands in terms of what’s happened around the borders and we’ve just had to work as hard and quickly as possible to make sure we can play,” he said.

“When you consider what’s going on around the world, we are grateful to be able to host some Test rugby.

“It’s also disappointing not to be able to host Argentina, but the eight-week pause to the trans-Tasman travel bubble meant it just wasn’t possible to get the team into the country.”

Photo: Getty Images

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Dylan Jack