Bledisloe III Perth date set as New Zealand, Australia resume Rugby Championship
Australia will host rivals New Zealand on Sunday, September 5 (7am BST) after SANZAAR confirmed details for their rescheduled Round 2 fixture as part of the 2021 Rugby Championship.
The two teams were originally slated to meet on August 28, but the All Blacks scrapped their plans to travel to Perth following Covid-19 outbreaks in Australia and New Zealand.
The Optus Stadium will now host the two southern-hemisphere giants eight days after their original date, with both teams looking to close the gap on Rugby Championship leaders South Africa.
Both the Wallabies and the All Blacks will travel to Queensland following their showdown in Perth, with the Rugby Championship’s four remaining rounds to be completed on the east coast.
There were concerns the Western Australia government would not clear the teams to play considering visitors from New Zealand are required to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.
But SANZAAR chief executive Brendan Morris praised local organisers upon announcing an agreement had been struck: "It is great that we now have the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle in place following all the hard work that has been done recently to secure The Rugby Championship tournament. We now have all remaining nine matches in place and rugby fans in Perth can now purchase tickets with certainty to this blockbuster Rugby Championship match.
"Following the match, which is also the third Bledisloe Cup match between the two arch-rivals, both teams will move to Queensland where the remainder of the tournament will be staged from Sunday 12 September to Saturday 2 October, as announced by the Queensland Government yesterday.
"SANZAAR would like to make special mention of the West Australian government and the management of Optus Stadium in Perth who have been very supportive of this fixture and have made it happen.”
New Zealand’s short-notice refusal to travel for the third leg of their Bledisloe series went down badly on the other side of the Tasman.
Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos suggested they would seek compensation if the All Blacks failed to meet their rescheduled date, while Wallabies coach Dave Rennie was left “bloody angry” with the incident.
Coach Ian Foster’s side have already won this year’s Bledisloe Cup, beating Australia in back-to-back Tests at Eden Park to retain the trophy for the 19th year running.
The Wallabies conceded a record points total in the second of those encounters, losing 57-22 in Auckland to render the third meeting in Perth a dead-rubber as far as the Bledisloe is concerned.
That game also served as the opening fixture of the Rugby Championship, which the All Blacks are attempting to win for the seventh time in nine editions.
New Zealand announced Foster has signed a new two-year contract with the union shortly before travelling to Australia, although the decision hasn’t gone down well among all their fans.
The All Blacks will be without three senior members for the clash in Perth after it was confirmed Sam Whitelock, Aaron Smith and Richie Mo’unga have remained behind for the births of their children.
New Rugby Championship Schedule
Round 2 (Optus Stadium, Perth)
Sunday, September 5: Australia v New Zealand (7am BST)
Round 3 (CBUS Super Stadium, Gold Coast)
Sunday, September 12: New Zealand v Argentina
Sunday, September 12: South Africa v Australia
Round 4 (Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane)
Saturday, September 18: Argentina v New Zealand
Saturday, September 18: Australia v South Africa
Round 5 (QLD Country Bank Stadium, Townsville)
Saturday, September 25: New Zealand v South Africa
Saturday, September 25: Australia v Argentina
Round 6 (CBUS Super Stadium, Gold Coast)
Saturday, October 2: South Africa v New Zealand
Saturday, October 2: Argentina v Australia
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