Sanzaar has confirmed the kick-off times of the remaining Rugby Championship matches, including the fact that the historic 100th Test between the Boks and All Blacks will strangely serve as a ‘curtain raiser’ to the Argentina-Australia match.
On 25 September, South Africa will take on New Zealand in Townsville at 5.05pm AEST, which will mean kick-off is at 9.05am South African time.
Three hours later, Australia and Argentina will head into battle.
If not for the pandemic-enforced changes to the schedule, the highly-anticipated All Blacks vs Springboks match would undoubtedly have drawn a sold-out crowd.
The expectation, however, was that it would still be the main fixture of the double-header on 25 September, but Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos told reporters this week that the ‘home’ team for each match to be played in Queensland would have their kick-off time tweaked to suit broadcasters in their country.
“Whilst they are all double-headers, there are certain games that are home games for South Africa and certain games that are home games for Argentina and New Zealand and Australia,” Marinos said.
“We have to balance that, in terms of the kick-off times so it hits those markets outside of Australasia at a reasonable time.”
As it turns, out, given the centenary test is an All Blacks ‘home’ game, the perfect kick-off time for New Zealand viewers was said to be around 5pm AEST (7pm NZ time), and that appears to be the way it has turned out.
Although it was expected that the Wallabies-Pumas match could take place earlier due to broadcasters looking to avoid clashes between Wallabies matches and Saturday night NRL finals, the second Rugby Championship in Townsville will kick off at 8:05pm AEST (12:05pm SA time).
However, the final round of Rugby Championship matches will see the double-headers switched around, with the 101st Test between South Africa and New Zealand serving as the last match of the competition on 2 October.
Sanzaar CEO, Brendan Morris said: “This is an exciting announcement as it confirms a first for international rugby with a series of four double-header weekends of top quality rugby action.
“It is a unique opportunity for Queensland rugby fans and indeed the global broadcast audience to watch the best players and teams go head-to-head in consecutive matches at the same venue on the same day, across the four weekends.
“Our thanks go to our rights-holding host broadcasters – Nine and Stan Sport, Sky NZ, SuperSport and ESPN – for their flexibility and assistance in delivering this match schedule which is an exciting innovation for rugby broadcasts in the southern hemisphere,” added Morris.