Here are the latest rugby headlines on Sunday, August 22.
New Zealand given $5million warning by Australia
Rugby Australia have threatened to pass on a $5million bill to New Zealand if the All Blacks don’t play in a rescheduled Bledisloe Cup game in Perth on September 4.
New Zealand have come under fire for their 11th-hour withdrawal from the third Bledisloe Test, a decision which has been dubbed disrespectful by Australia head coach Dave Rennie. The decision has thrown the Rugby Championship into chaos, with both New Zealand and Australia facing significant travel restrictions while uncertainty remains over where the rest of the tournament will be played out.
The Wallabies have requested a written guarantee that the All Blacks will not bail on the sold-out match, according to WA Today, while the date for the rescheduled third Test of the Bledisloe Cup series is hoped to be locked in in the next 48 hours.
Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos said: “I want it in writing. We have an email, but we need a letter for both the government and the stadium as well.
“That should be forthcoming pretty soon.”
The outlet reports that the Western Australian Government has signalled its intention to recoup the $5million they paid to Rugby Australia to play the Test in Perth.
“I’ve made New Zealand very aware that we have a contract and they’ve made a commitment.”
New Zealand boss claims Australia’s claims ‘simply not true’
New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson claims senior Wallabies were aware of NZR’s plans not to fly to Perth, dismissing Rugby Australia’s comments that they were not informed of the withdrawal as “simply not true”.
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 (was) no mention that this was the intention.”
Rennie said: “It’s disappointing how it’s been communicated. Our boys all found out through social medial.”
But New Zealand’s Robinson has refuted those claims, according to RugbyPass.
“We tried to give Rugby Australia as much time as possible, until Friday afternoon, to have quarantine tidied up with Queensland,” Robinson told Newstalk ZB.
“That was unable to be achieved and, therefore, we weren’t really able to get on a plane.
“Certainly I know that senior All Blacks and Wallabies were discussing the situation and our players were making them aware of the reality of our situation. It’s a shame that couldn’t get back to Dave and some of the people he’s referring to.
“We had calls right through from Wednesday, Thursday, we put something in writing on Thursday and then we spoke to them before anything was released.
“We understand that Rugby Australia are under severe financial pressure. This is an important game for them and we are committed to playing that match. The reality is, under those circumstances, that frustration manifests with what we saw yesterday; a lot of emotion, a lot of frustration, sometimes possibly not all the information, and that’s the result of that.”
Australia reject Robinson’s claims they weren’t blindsided
Back to Australia, and CEO Marinos has refuted Robinson’s claims that Australia were not blindsided by the All Blacks’ decision.
“At no stage did he communicate on that call that they were about to send a media release. That’s what absolutely blindsided us,” he said.
“As soon as I found out, I tried to phone him, he didn’t answer my call.
“I sent him two messages asking not to make a public statement until such time as we have consulted our stakeholders and I had absolutely no response until 2.30pm.
“I’m not denying the fact they made their position quite clear, I would never deny that, what I am really disappointed about is that they chose to make a public statement on a postponement or cancellation that involved us, without telling us at all.”
Australia claim New Zealand didn’t intend on fulfilling fixture
Marinos has also claimed NZR never intended to fulfil the match despite Australia obligating to reworking the schedule to allow the opening two Bledisloe Tests in Auckland.
“I don’t think they really had any intention of fulfilling that game on the 28th,” Marinos said, according to RugbyPass.
“We feel as an organisation and players there’s been a significant amount of compromise and sacrifice on our side in order to manage this Covid outbreak and get things under way.
“We don’t feel that’s being reciprocated at the moment. They forever seem to be putting up roadblocks.
“Our team went to New Zealand at the drop of a hat with no certainty around the future structure and have been on the road and away from family since the 12th of June so we would expect more of a partnership approach.”
Rugby Championship may yet be played out in Queensland
The Rugby Championship could yet be played out in Queensland instead of back-up plan Europe after the Australian state fast-tracked plans to allow South Africa and Argentina to enter the region into “managed isolation”.
WA Today report that the Queensland plan has seen venues secured.
Marinos said: “Queensland is absolutely a priority for us. Until such time that we cannot make it work, that’s the priority.
“We are working very hard to get all the approval and assurances done. The Queensland government have been fantastic in working alongside us.
“There was never any doubt about whether we could play there. It was just doubt that we could get South Africa and Argentina through managed isolation.”
South Africa beat Argentina again but fail to win bonus point
South Africa secured a comfortable 29-10 victory over Argentina for the second consecutive weekend on Saturday thanks to tries from wing Makazole Mapimpi and hooker Malcolm Marx.
Both tries came in the second half of the Rugby Championship clash at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, but the Springboks failed to secure a bonus point after their dominance ended with a scrappy final 15 minutes.
Los Pumas loose-forward Pablo Matera scored a late try, but their 11 conceded penalties in the first 31 minutes allowed the ‘Boks to keep the scoreboard ticking over early on, with No. 8 Rodrigo Bruni paying the price with a yellow card.