• NZ ‘open’ to hosting Rugby Champs

    New Zealand’s Sport and Recreation Minister, Grant Robertson, has confirmed the government would be ‘open’ to hosting the Rugby Championship as long as the safety of its people can be assured.

    On Thursday Sanzaar confirmed that New Zealand is currently the favoured option to possibly host a revised Rugby Championship in one central location later this year.

    Responding to the news, Robertson told media at Invercargill Airport they had been in conversation with Sanzaar to assess how they could make this happen with the necessary safety precautions remaining the priority.

    ‘We’re certainly open to the idea but there are quite a few things to work through. Our priority has got to be to keep New Zealanders safe and to keep the teams safe and to make sure that we’ve got the capacity to be able to have teams to come in, isolate, and then obviously be able to play.

    ‘It’s a really exciting idea – I think like a lot of New Zealanders, I’d really look forward to it but there’s quite a lot of work to do before we can guarantee it.’

    Robertson added that any chance of welcoming teams from Australia, South Africa and Argentina would need to be in accordance with New Zealand’s existing overall border regulations.

    ‘We’d have to be increasing our capacity as, obviously, we’ve got a lot of returning New Zealanders and they are our priority,’ he said.

    ‘But we are going to work through these issues and we have already been talking to Sanzaar about what might be possible.’

    According to 1 NEWS , the revised Rugby Championship would be eight weeks long and run from mid-November through to December.

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    Photo: Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images

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    Craig Lewis