New Zealand unhappy with schedule

New Zealand Rugby has expressed its disappointment at the Rugby Championship schedule which will have the All Blacks playing their last match on 12 December.

Sanzaar has announced the match schedule for the Championship, with the All Blacks scheduled to play Australia in Brisbane on Saturday, 7 November and Argentina the following Saturday in Sydney on 14 November.

The team is then scheduled to play back-to-back Tests against South Africa in Sydney on 21 November and Newcastle on Saturday, 28 November, with a second Test against Argentina on Saturday, 5 December in Sydney and a final scheduled match against the Wallabies in Sydney on Saturday, 12 December.

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Given that the All Blacks will have to quarantine for two weeks when they return to New Zealand, this will essentially mean that their players will not be able to spend Christmas Day with their families.

‘We were working on the understanding and all our planning and scheduling was on the basis that the All Blacks’ last match would be on December 5 to give our players and management time to get home, undertake the 14 days’ quarantine back in New Zealand, and then be with their families for Christmas, as will be the case for the other three teams in the tournament,’ NZR CEO Mark Robinson said.

‘We understand the commercial considerations in the scheduling. However, the well-being of our people is an incredibly important factor in this also.

‘We are committed to playing in the Rugby Championship and we know the scheduling of matches has been a complex and dynamic issue to work through, especially with quarantine protocols, but we haven’t agreed to this schedule and are disappointed at the announcement.

‘We will now work through the issues with Rugby Australia and Sanzaar and believe that there are other solutions within the Rugby Championship window,’ Robinson added.

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