Australia set to steal Rugby Championship away from New Zealand's grasp

Australia appears to be in the box seat to host the Rugby Championship - if the tournament goes ahead at all this year.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports Rugby Australia has pulled off quite the coup, wrestling the competition away from New Zealand's grasp.

Sanzaar officials will meet on Thursday to confirm an international calendar disrupted by COVID-19 and the SMH suggests Australia is in the box seat to stage the four-nation tournament, due to superior commercial modelling and quarantine conditions.

NZ Rugby had hoped to host the entire competition in bubbles throughout the country over six weeks, but the Government hasn't committed to allowing visiting teams into New Zealand, the report says.

With the entire country currently at Alert Level 2, Sanzaar needs a resolution and Australia now looms as the likely host, with Queensland and New South Wales expected to host games. 

Chief executives of Sanzaar member unions will participate in a phone hook-up late on Thursday evening to analyse the various options and make concrete plans.

The Rugby Championship is already in doubt, with South Africa and Argentina struggling to contain the pandemic, and several Pumas players testing positive for the coronavirus.

Newshub understands NZR is bracing for a contingency plan that would see New Zealand and Australia host a four-test Bledisloe Cup series in October/November.