The match schedule for the premier SANZAAR Rugby tournament has only just allayed the confusion and conjecture that was surrounding the 2021 Rugby Championship (TRC) fixtures list.
With major changes made to these TRC fixtures timeline that is now based entirely in Queensland, it has become a singular-Continental tournament – and one that may or may not save the SANZAAR rugby partnership. The at-times ‘fractious relationship’ has been on rocky shores since the Pandemic struck, and this urgent rearrangement may somewhat repair the match program yet, the ignominy is almost palpable.
Contained in a prepared media release, SANZAAR CEO Brendan Morris stated, “We thought last year was tough when we had to implement a Tri-nations tournament in Australia with South Africa absent due to the pandemic, but the current disruption caused by the ‘delta variant’ of COVID-19 has seen government authorities tighten up border bio-security measures substantially.
“This is totally understandable but after exploring several options, including moving the tournament to South Africa and even Europe, we now look forward with excitement to the remainder of The Rugby Championship in Queensland. Indeed, I am delighted on behalf of the SANZAAR stakeholders that we can now complete this world-class rugby tournament.”
By changing the dates to now become double-header games at single venues, the four weekends will provide the Southern Hemisphere powers with ‘product’ instead of more argument and the possibility of no games at all.
— Springbok Rugby Fans (@SpringboksFans) August 24, 2021
SANZAAR Rugby confusion allayed with 2021 TRC schedule
Despite these challenges, SANZAAR confirmed that eight matches of the tournament will now be staged in Queensland after the SANZAAR rugby national unions were able to agree to suitable travel, accommodation, and quarantine arrangements as regulated by the Queensland state government.
The delay in announcing the fixture venues/country brought about reports that everywhere from South Africa, to France, Wales, or England could become the host for the 2021 TRC matches but, in the end, the convenience of Australia repeating their list of venues was deemed suitable.
Matches listed below will provide SANZAAR rugby with only a fraction of the riches on hand in Europe yet, it will be the better for it. It will be an authentic version; even if the underlying argument remains:
Sat 14 August: New Zealand 57 v Australia 22 [Eden Park, Auckland]
Sat 14 August: South Africa 32 v Argentina 12 [Mandela Stadium, Port Elizabeth]
Sat 21 August: Argentina 29 v South Africa 10 [Mandela Stadium, Port Elizabeth]
TBC: Australia v New Zealand: Optus Stadium, Perth**
Sunday 12 September: New Zealand v Argentina: CBUS Super Stadium, Gold Coast
Sunday 12 September: South Africa v Australia: CBUS Super Stadium, GC
Saturday 18 September: Argentina v NZ: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Saturday 18 September: Australia v South Africa: Suncorp Stadium, BRS
Sat 25 September: NZ v South Africa: QLD Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
Sat 25 September: Australia v Argentina: QLD Country Bank Stadium, TVL
Sat 2 October: South Africa v NZ: CBUS Super Stadium, Gold Coast
Sat 2 October: Argentina v Australia: CBUS Super Stadium, GC
* All kick-off times and match order to be confirmed
Unfortunately, this means there will be no matches played in New South Wales (Sydney and Newcastle), Australian Capital Territory (Canberra) or New Zealand (Auckland and Dunedin) as previously scheduled.
It is expected that Australia remains based in Perth, while New Zealand flies to Western Australia on Thursday, with South Africa and Argentina departing the republic, on way to a planned isolation TRC bubble that may continue through the full competition.
Bledisloe Cup match #3 to now proceed in Perth
With the correction to the 2021 Rugby Championship schedule, the postponed third Bledisloe Cup match/Round 2 TRC game has been rescheduled. Rugby Australia has been able to coordinate with the Western Australian government to permit New Zealand to fly direct, and to meet quarantine requirements, ahead of the [to be confirmed] Test match at Optus Stadium.
It's back on!
— bet365 AUS (@bet365_aus) August 24, 2021
In a strange twist, it is reported that an AFL (Australian Rules) games schedule is likely to dictate whether Saturday September 4 is the set day. It may need to be played on either a Friday night, or at an agreeable time on a Sunday afternoon.
Last Word on Rugby cannot speculate as other media organizations have so willfully done over the last week. Much of that only added to the conjecture which SANZAAR rugby has so oddly seemed to attract. Ever since the redacted 2020 Tri-Nations had to replace last year’s tournament, the impact of Covid-19, exclamations of player welfare, and some unsavory exchanges between Rugby Australia and New Zealand Rugby, the last-minute negotiations have allayed the fears of stakeholders. Provided no unforeseen positive ‘delta Covid variant’ new cases surface in the Sunshine State.
“Main photo credit”