Rugby: Bledisloe Cup opener to proceed as planned in New Zealand

  • 26/07/2021

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has confirmed the first test of the Bledisloe Cup series between the All Blacks and Australia will still take place as scheduled on August 7 at Eden Park in Auckland.

NZR is working with the New Zealand Government to finalise confirmation of a travel exemption for the Australian team to travel to New Zealand this week to prepare for the match.

Planning is also underway to ensure the Wallabies can remain in New Zealand to play a second test, as the unions look to condense the schedule to accomodate COVID-19 travel restrictions.

But the Beervana beer festival has booked Sky Stadium for August 13-14, meaning NZR will need to find an alternative venue if they wish to play back-to-back tests in New Zealand.

NZR is also exploring the options of a Sunday, August 15 test at Sky Stadium, as well as the possibility of a mid-week test.

The third test looks set to be played in Perth, with Wallabies coach Dave Rennie having ruled out any possibility of all three matches being played in New Zealand. 

The adjusted schedule is likely to have a domino effect on the Rugby Championship. The All Blacks may remain in Perth after the third test against Australia to play Argentina, before returning to New Zealand to play South Africa, says NZR general manager professional rugby and performance Chris Lendrum.

Lendrum insists contingency plans are progressing positively, after Friday's announcement of an eight-week pause of the trans-Tasman travel bubble.

"There are some obvious logistical challenges for the Bledisloe Cup Series and The Rugby Championship, but we have made some great progress and are confident we are moving toward a positive outcome," says Lendrum.

"Importantly, we are anticipating Australia will be in New Zealand this week to prepare for the first Bledisloe Cup test at Eden Park, which is great news for the large number of fans who have already bought tickets and great news for Auckland and Eden Park."

Join us for live updates of all of the All Blacks' Bledisloe Cup opener against Australia on August 7