Speculation has mounted that Australia rather than New Zealand could be set to host the Rugby Championship with a decision over the tournament to be made soon.
Sanzaar officials are set to meet on Thursday and decide as to whether the Championship will proceed. If it does, a decision will be made over where it takes place on Friday.
World Rugby has allocated the Rugby Championship a Test window between 7 November and 12 December, with New Zealand indicated as Sanzaar’s favoured host nation as the country has kept their Covid-19 infection rate low over the past few months, allowing rugby to return in the form of Super Rugby Aotearoa.
Sanzaar has discussed the idea of a centralised hub in New Zealand, with Queenstown spoken about as an ideal location. However, a re-emergence of coronavirus in Auckland has led to fears that these plans could be scuppered.
Reports from the Australian have suggested that Australia has now emerged as the front-runner to host the Championship amid the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 situation in New Zealand.
Sanzaar’s alternate plan was to host the tournament in either New South Wales or Queensland.
There have been doubts over whether the Championship itself will go ahead, due to logistical issues in getting Argentina and South Africa to either New Zealand or Australia in time for the tournament’s start date.
The Argentina Rugby Union (UAR) on Saturday revealed that six members of the Pumas squad had tested positive for coronavirus. These players have been placed in isolation. The country’s preparations for the tournament will also be affected by the need to quarantine the players now and again once they are admitted into Australia or New Zealand, if that is allowed.
Meanwhile, the Springboks are only set to return to regular action in a South African domestic tournament in October. The Boks will have to travel to Australasia by 18 October to comply with quarantine conditions and therefore could go into the tournament undercooked.
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