NZ Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson has ruled out any prospect of rescheduling Bledisloe Cup tests across the ditch this year, if the Wallabies refuse to visit New Zealand next month.
Since SANZAAR awarded the revamped Rugby Championship tournament to Australia last Friday, doubt has fallen on next month's scheduled trans-Tasman series, with Wallabies coach Dave Rennie unwilling to commit to New Zealand's tough COVID-19 quarantine regulations.
Newshub has revealed Rugby Australia's bid to snatch the two proposed NZ tests and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed to The AM Show that she made a late-night call to Aussie counterpart Scott Morrison to calm the waters, reminding him there was already a deal in place.
After consulting Directer-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield, the NZ Government has offered to ease restrictions to allow the Wallabies to train together as a team during the second week of quarantine.
Robinson is confident the Aussies will have sufficient time to prepare for a Bledisloe Cup opener on November 10 and denies NZ Rugby will bow to demands to relocate those tests.
If the Wallabies refuse to play in New Zealand, would the All Blacks travel to play rescheduled games in Australia?
"We won't be going to Australia to play the Bledisloe," he has told The AM Show.
Traditionally, the Bledisloe series is played as part of the home-and-away Rugby Championship, with a third test added in non-World Cup years.
Strictly speaking, if the Rugby Championship proceeds in Australia this year, those games would still count towards the Bledisloe.
But Robinson's comments do raise questions over New Zealand's commitment to playing the Wallabies in Australia, if the Rugby Championship is cancelled.
If Australia backs out of the two NZ tests, the All Blacks could easily remain idle this year.
"We think it's great news," Robinson says of the reduced quarantine restrictions. "By my count, that gives them 12-14 days' unrestricted training in New Zealand, before that first test around the weekend of the 10th.
"Hopefully, that's ample time for them to be fit, prepared and ready to go.
"We've been working in good faith with the Australians now for several months about wanting to have two tests here.
"The same would have stood if the Rugby Championship had been held in New Zealand - we were all set to play two tests in Australia and we were working around dates for that.
"We're sure they'll come with an open mind later today, after what's transpired overnight."