Rugby Championship: Christmas crisis averted

The All Blacks participation in the Rugby Championship is back on after a compromise was reached regarding the schedule.

SANZAAR and tournament hosts, Rugby Australia, announced a revised draw for the 2020 Rugby Championship on 8 October.

Rugby Championship stretched to accomodate All Blacks

The 12-match tournament will now be played across seven weeks with the Wallabies clash against the All Blacks moved from Saturday 12 December to Saturday 31 October at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium.

South Africa’s Test against Argentina on Saturday 12 December has been moved to Newcastle’s McDonald Jones Stadium to close out the tournament. 

The remainder of the draw is otherwise unchanged with five straight weeks of double-headers beginning at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on Saturday 7 November. Kick-off times are confirmed.

The Springboks set to play for the first time since winning the Rugby World Cup in Japan last year when they face Argentina on the second weekend of the tournament. 

Saturday 7 November will also mark the first-time that Tier One Rugby Union nations will have faced-off in a Test match double-header.

“The opening of the travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand from New Zealand and an agreement by the parties on revised commercial outcomes has enabled the joint venture to consider alternative solutions in addressing our two key objectives of commercial viability and player welfare,” SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos said.

“Rugby Australia and SANZAR, with the support of the NSW Government, South Africa, Argentina and New Zealand, have been proactive in putting numerous workable solutions forward that have now enabled us to adjust the draw. 

“The final revised draw will see the Australia vs New Zealand match originally scheduled for the 12 December as a double-header at ANZ Stadium moved to 31 October at ANZ Stadium as a stand-alone game. The South Africa vs Argentina match as planned on the 12 December at ANZ Stadium has been moved to the McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle.”

SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos

“This year has been a year of continued adjustment where the SANZAAR partners have had to compromise on a number of levels. It is important to further acknowledge the sacrifice of a number of the players and team management that will have been away from home for close to six months by the time The Rugby Championship has concluded. This is again a testament to the strong values that encompass our game.”

“I would also like to thank our rights-holding broadcasters for accommodating this late change and for continuing to support us through these challenges as well as the New South Wales Government for its support and flexibility with regard to the tournament and match venues.”

“The 12-match Rugby Championship is now all set for kick-off. The Argentina Pumas have already arrived in Australia and we all look forward to an exciting and vibrant tournament that will undoubtedly showcase the best of southern hemisphere rugby,” added Marinos.

Rugby Australia Interim Chief Executive Rob Clarke said: “I really have to thank the New South Wales Government, under the leadership of Gladys Berejiklian as well as Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her Government in Queensland for their flexibility and support in accommodating this late change.

“Both Governments have been terrific partners in ensuring this tournament goes ahead and in helping deliver world-class Rugby for fans across New South Wales and Queensland as well as to the global television audience that will be tuning in.

“I’m pleased this draw is now resolved and that the SANZAAR joint venture has reached a suitable compromise. Each party has had to sacrifice something, and I think that is a true indication of the strength of the SANZAAR alliance,” Clarke said.

Argentina’s Pumas have already arrived in Australia and are training under strict health regulations, governed by NSW Health and NSW Police. 

Springboks to confirm participation

The Springbok’s participation remains to be confirmed as SA Rugby await government approval for the travel and return to South Africa in December. 

SANZAAR believe it is a positive sign that the Super Rugby Unlocked tournament kicks-off on Friday 9 October, when the Sharks host the Lions behind closed doors at Kings Park.

The revised draw for The Rugby Championship 2020

Matchday one – Saturday 31 October

ANZ Stadium, Sydney

19:45 AEDT (10:45 SAST) – Australia v New Zealand

Matchday two – Saturday 7 November 2020

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

17:00 AEDT (08:00 SAST) – Argentina v South Africa

19:45 AEDT (10:45 SAST) – Australia v New Zealand

Matchday three – Saturday 14 November

Bankwest Stadium, Sydney

17:00 AEDT (08:00 SAST) – New Zealand v Argentina

19:45 AEDT (10:45 SAST) – South Africa v Australia

Matchday four – Saturday 21 November

ANZ Stadium, Sydney

17:00 AEDT (08:00 SAST) – New Zealand v South Africa

19:45 AEDT (10:45 SAST) – Australia v Argentina

Matchday five – Saturday 28 November

McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle

17:00 AEDT (08:00 SAST) – Argentina v Australia

19:45 AEDT (10:45 SAST) – South Africa v New Zealand

Matchday six – Saturday 5 December

Bankwest Stadium, Sydney

17:00 AEDT (08:00 SAST) – Argentina v New Zealand

19:45 AEDT (10:45 SAST) – Australia v South Africa

Matchday seven – Saturday 12 December

McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle

19:45 AEDT (10:45 SAST) – South Africa v Argentina

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