'Bloody angry': Wallabies fume at All Blacks pulling plug

The two teams were due to play a Rugby Championship clash in Perth on August 28, but NZR chief executive Mark Robinson said the All Blacks would not leave on Sunday as planned due to uncertainty around coronavirus travel restrictions.

Wallabies players. Picture: @Wallabies/Facebook.com.

PERTH - Australia slammed New Zealand Rugby for a lack of respect on Friday, with Wallabies coach Dave Rennie "bloody angry" after the All Blacks pulled the plug on travelling to Perth for an upcoming Test.

The two teams were due to play a Rugby Championship clash in the city on August 28, but NZR chief executive Mark Robinson said the All Blacks would not leave on Sunday as planned due to uncertainty around coronavirus travel restrictions.

Instead, the three-time world champions will remain at home until the tournament's governing body SANZAAR considers and finalises plans for the rest of the pandemic-hit tournament, including an offer from South Africa to host the remainder of the games there.

New Zealand's decision caught the Wallabies by surprise, with Rugby Australia chief Andy Marinos claiming he only learned about it through the media.

"It's incredibly disappointing to be informed of this decision via the media, despite having a conversation with the CEO (Robinson) moments before and there was no mention that this was the intention," he said in a statement.

"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."

Under current Western Australia state rules, the All Blacks would have to quarantine for 14 days on arrival, but talks were under way to grant them an exemption.

Rennie, a New Zealander, was equally upset.

The Wallabies, who have been on the road since June, are already in Perth for a match that has now been postponed.

"Bloody angry," Rennie told reporters. "I think it's disappointing how it has been communicated. Our boys all found out through social media.

"New Zealand Rugby didn't even have the respect to consult RA about their decision so that's hugely disappointing."

100% COMMITTED

The All Blacks have five Tests remaining in the Rugby Championship, one against Australia and two each against South Africa and Argentina.

Robinson said their two home Tests against South Africa next month would no longer be played in New Zealand after government advice that the Springboks would not be able to enter due to a Covid-19 lockdown.

The Argentina Tests had already been moved to Australia.

"Given the uncertainty, it makes sense to pause and get more clarity on these fixtures," Robinson said.

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

SANZAAR said in a statement it was working "night and day" to find a suitable solution for the remaining matches.

Reports in Australia said Queensland state remained an option to host the tournament, or it could even be moved to Europe.

Another possibility would be to switch the remaining matches to South Africa, following a proposal by SA Rugby on Friday.

"We have advised Sanzaar that we are ready and able to host the remainder of the competition in South Africa, pending our government's approval," said Jurie Roux, chief executive of SA Rugby.

"We are now well-versed in turning on rugby Tests within the prevailing Covid restrictions and have the venues and accommodation necessary. We just need the go-ahead."

The Springboks and Argentina's Pumas were scheduled to fly to Australia on Sunday night but that flight has been put on hold until a new schedule for the tournament is confirmed.

Argentina coach Mario Ledesma told South African journalists that his team were willing to play their matches anywhere.

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