Sport

New Zealand eases quarantine rules for Wallabies

New Zealand eases quarantine rules for Wallabies”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday she was working to ensure New Zealand's strict quarantine rules do not stop the All Blacks hosting Australia in next month's Bledisloe Cup.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie warned New Zealand Rugby (NZR) on Sunday that his side would refuse to play a test against the All Blacks on October 10 because COVID-19 protocols would not allow them to prepare properly.

Ardern said the view of Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield was it was "possible and advisable" for the Australians to come to New Zealand because their "risk profile" was low.

Training will be allowed from day three and the full squad from day six.

Sanzaar awarded the tournament to Australia, with NZ Rugby miffed the NZ Government wouldn't relax it's quarantine rules to allow the visiting teams from Australia, South Africa and Argentina to train soon after their arrival.

Rugby Australia, the sport's national federation, were unable to provide immediate comment.

Much of the Prime Minister's press conference raised more questions than answers.

"Dave and the team are incredibly excited about the prospect of playing in New Zealand", chief executive Rob Clarke said.

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"Under those quarantine arrangements I can assure you we won't be playing a Test in New Zealand that weekend".

She believed they were still coming: "There's no reason for them not to".

Asked if the Bledisloe fixtures could also be moved to Australia, Ardern replied: "I don't think that's going to be necessary".

"So, quarantine shouldn't be an issue".

But Ardern - who faces an October 17 election in the rugby-mad nation - assured fans "we'll be able to find a workable solution so that we can make the Bledisloe Cup happen".

Two All Blacks v Wallabies Bledisloe Cup test matches will be played in New Zealand on consecutive Sundays' in October.

Meanwhile, All Blacks coach Ian Foster described Ardern's declaration as "positive" in an interview with Newstalk ZB.

With a further 13 players in the squad having fewer than 10 caps to their name and a new coach, preparation time will be key if the Wallabies are to regain the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 2002.



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