New Zealand-born Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has launched a scathing response to New Zealand Rugby’s decision to pull out of the third Bledisloe Cup Test and planned Rugby Championship schedule.
In a statement on Friday, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) unilaterally announced the two home Rugby Championship Tests against South Africa will not be played in New Zealand, and that the All Blacks would not be flying to Perth this weekend for the third Bledisloe Cup Test which was scheduled to be played at Optus Stadium on 28 August.
The announcement was the first Rennie and the Wallabies heard about the move, with Rugby Australia (RA) CEO Andy Marinos calling it “incredibly disappointing”.
Rennie blasted the lack of communication and apparent disrespect shown towards his side.
“Bloody angry,” Rennie said bluntly to reporters. “I think it’s disappointing how it has been communicated. Our boys all found out through social media.
“I thought New Zealand Rugby didn’t even have the respect to consult RA about their decision so that’s hugely disappointing.”
“We made a commitment to play a Test in Auckland on the 7th of August and while we had players away from home for six weeks already out of NSW, we honoured that commitment. They asked to play an extra game because we couldn’t go back to Wellington on the 28th and we honoured that as well,” he argued.
“They made a commitment to come on the 21st which was pushed back to the 28th and now they are not coming.
“It’s disappointing for the Perth community but also disappointing for our players because we’re in limbo as well. What we know is that we’ll get clarity over the next couple of days around the Rugby Championship and where it’s going to be held. Whether that’s Brisbane, South Africa or Europe, the games are to take place on those dates, the 11th or the 12th are the first ones.
“New Zealand could’ve come here, played the game knowing we have a Rugby Championship game a week afterwards… If they are playing the welfare card, well our New South Wales boys haven’t been home for eight weeks already with no clear end in site and likelihood they won’t get home until late November to then be in quarantine.”
Rennie also reference Australia’s flexibility during last year’s Rugby Championship, and suggested it now felt like “there’s only one of us doing what’s in the best interest of the game”.
“Last year, we want to New Zealand to ensure the games were played for the benefits of both countries. We quarantined in Wellington for two weeks. The expectation was we made a commitment to go there this year, they’d come here and they haven’t honoured.
“It tells you more about them than us I reckon.”