• Rugby Championship schedule confirmed

    The Springboks could begin their defence of the Rugby Championship with an away match against Argentina – in Brisbane – before a ‘home’ game against the Wallabies in Sydney.

    South Africa’s participation in the event still has to be confirmed but Sanzaar has revealed the intended playing schedule for the 12-match, six-week tournament, which will take place in Australia (in Brisbane, Newcastle and Sydney) between 7 November and 12 December.

    The Boks are scheduled to play back-to-back matches against New Zealand – with an away game in Sydney before ‘hosting’ the same opponents in Newcastle – before the tournament returns to Sydney for the final two rounds.

    South Africa’s participation remains conditional on the relaxation of the government’s current ban on international sporting participation and the outcome of assessments of high performance and player welfare issues.

    Sanzaar explained the incoming teams (Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa) would be required to observe all health regulations around their squads as imposed by the New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland governments.

    The teams will be kept separate by operating within a ‘bubble’ during this period with all teams operating in clean environments controlled by NSW police. The wellness of the squads will be continually monitored in line with NSW Heath requirements.

    The tournament will kick off with round one in Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on 7 November before the tournament moves to New South Wales for the remaining five rounds, with matches to be played in Sydney at Bankwest Stadium and ANZ Stadium, and McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle.

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    ‘It has taken a lot of hard work to get to this point, but we are delighted that we can now confirm the match dates and venues for The Rugby Championship 2020,’ Sanzaar CEO Andy Marinos said. ‘The Rugby Championship is one of the game’s showpiece events and includes some of the best rugby talent in the world.

    ‘While the rescheduling and reconfiguration of the Super Rugby season has not been ideal all the member unions have been committed in getting rugby back on the field and the culmination of this will be The Rugby Championship in Australia. I would like to thank all of our unions and their staff for their dedication and hard work since the onset of this pandemic.

    ‘Our broadcasters and commercial partners have been fantastic in working with us and continually adapting in what has been a very dynamic environment.

    ‘It is fantastic to be able to take matches to three cities – Brisbane, Newcastle and Sydney. The six double-header Saturdays are a first for the tournament and will produce an exciting feast of rugby for spectators at the venues who will actually be getting two world-class international tests for the price of one entry ticket.

    ‘Thanks to our committed family of broadcasters this action will also be delivered to the living rooms of our overseas rugby fans providing a rugby feast similar to what we experienced a year ago with the Rugby World Cup.’

    Kick-off times for the double-header matches will be announced in due course. Rugby Australia and New Zealand have previously announced that the first two rounds of the four-match 2020 Bledisloe Cup will be played in Wellington and Auckland on 11 and 18 October, respectively. The Wallabies versus All Blacks TRC matches on 7 September and 12 December will double up as the last two Bledisloe matches.

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    The Rugby Championship 2020 fixtures

    Round 1 – Saturday, 7 November
    Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
    Argentina vs South Africa
    Australia vs New Zealand

    Round 2 – Saturday, 14 November
    Bankwest Stadium, Sydney
    New Zealand vs Argentina
    South Africa vs Australia

    Round 3 – Saturday, 21 November
    ANZ Stadium, Sydney
    New Zealand vs South Africa
    Australia vs Argentina

    Round 4 – Saturday, 28 November
    McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
    Argentina vs Australia
    South Africa vs New Zealand

    Round 5 – Saturday, 5 December
    Bankwest Stadium, Sydney
    Argentina vs New Zealand
    Australia vs South Africa

    Round 6 – Saturday, 12 December
    ANZ Stadium, Sydney
    South Africa vs Argentina
    Australia vs New Zealand

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    Photo: EPA/Jan Touzeau