RA disappointed as All Blacks skip Bledisloe

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Australia and New Zealand were scheduled to meet at Optus Stadium on 28 August, but Bledisloe III has been put on hold after the New Zealand Rugby's (NZR) decision to keep the All Blacks grounded at home amid uncertainty because of COVID-19 outbreaks in both countries.

There have been rising cases of the coronavirus in both Australia and New Zealand, with reports claiming the clash could be moved to the United Kingdom or South Africa.

NZR also announced the All Blacks' two home Rugby Championship Tests against South Africa – scheduled for 25 September and 2 October – will not be played in New Zealand after government advice that the Springboks would not be able to enter the country because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

"Without complete certainty on the team's next movements around The Rugby Championship we felt it was prudent for the team to stay put in New Zealand until SANZAAR has announced the full tournament schedule," NZR chief executive Mark Robinson said on Friday, with the All Blacks having already retained the Bledisloe Cup.

"Once the team leaves our shores, they currently can't return until November 23 post their Northern Tour, so given the uncertainty, it makes sense to pause and get more clarity on these fixtures.

"We remain 100 per cent committed to playing in the entire Fortinet Rugby Championship in 2021 and are working closely with SANZAAR to look at a range of options to reschedule these important matches."

Having been notified of NZR's decision to abort the Perth showdown via the media, RA chief executive Andy Marinos said: "It's incredibly disappointing to be informed of this decision via the media, despite having a conversation with the CEO moments before and there no mention that this was the intention.

"Despite this outcome, I am confident we will find a solution for the whole Rugby Championship in what continues to be a very challenging environment in which to work.

"We have been engaging in positive discussions with both teams as well as government partners and were confident we were close to finding a solution."