SANZAAR and tournament hosts, Rugby Australia, have announced the match schedule and venues for The Rugby Championship 2020. The entire 12-match, 6-week tournament, as previously revealed, will take place in Australia and will be played in Brisbane, Newcastle and Sydney between November 7 and December 12.
“The New Zealand Rugby union expressed its disappointment”
The tournament will kick-off with Round One in Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on November 7 before the tournament moves to New South Wales for the remaining five rounds, with matches to be played in Sydney at Bankwest Stadium and ANZ Stadium, and McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle.
Inbound teams Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa will be required to observe all health regulations around their squads as imposed by the NSW and Queensland governments. The teams will be kept separate by operating within a ‘bubble’ during this period with all teams operating in clean environments controlled by NSW police. The wellness of the squads will be continually monitored in line with NSW Heath requirements.
SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos stated, “It has taken a lot of hard work to get to this point, but we are delighted that we can now confirm the match dates and venues for The Rugby Championship 2020. The Rugby Championship is one of the game’s showpiece events and includes some of the best rugby talent in the world.”
“While the rescheduling and reconfiguration of the Super Rugby season has not been ideal all the member unions have been committed in getting rugby back on the field and the culmination of this will be The Rugby Championship in Australia. I would like to thank all of our Unions and their staff for their dedication and hard work since the onset of this pandemic. Our Broadcasters and Commercial partners have been fantastic in working with us and continually adapting in what has been a very dynamic environment.”
SANZAAR would like to thank Rugby Australia as the host nation and Destination NSW and Tourism Australia for their commitment and involvement with venues and tournament logistics and assisting Rugby Australia in delivering this event.”
“It is fantastic to be able to take matches to three cities – Brisbane, Newcastle and Sydney. The six double-header Saturdays are a first for the tournament and will produce an exciting feast of rugby for spectators at the venues who will actually be getting two world-class international tests for the price of one entry ticket. Thanks to our committed family of broadcasters this action will also be delivered to the living rooms of our overseas rugby fans providing a rugby feast similar to what we experienced a year ago with the Rugby World Cup,” added Marinos.
NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said: “Sydney has once again reaffirmed its title as the nation’s sporting capital. With world-class sporting facilities and incredible food, wine, and natural beauty, NSW has so much to offer visitors and viewers from around the globe.”
“The Rugby Championship is the jewel in the crown of Southern Hemisphere Rugby. Hosting the majority of the games in NSW, including the highly coveted Bledisloe Cup, demonstrates our Government’s commitment to growing events across the state as a crucial means to rebuilding the NSW visitor economy.”
“The hard work of our government agencies, including Destination NSW and the Office of Sport, continues to see our state go from strength to strength as we navigate our way through what have been some turbulent times for our tourism and event industries.”
“I have no doubt that NSW sports fans will show up in droves for this incredible series and we look forward to welcoming fans from intrastate and hopefully interstate, for what is set to be an action-packed summer of sport across NSW,” added Mr Ayres.
Kick-off times for the double-header matches will be announced in due course. Rugby Australia and New Zealand have previously announced that the first two rounds of the four-match 2020 Bledisloe Cup will be played in Wellington and Auckland on October 11 and 18 respectively. The Wallabies versus All Blacks TRC matches on September 7 and December 12 will double up as the last two Bledisloe matches.
After the Sanzaar announcement, the New Zealand Rugby union expressed its disappointment at the announcement of the rugby Championship schedule which has the All Blacks playing their last match in Australia on Saturday 12 December, which is a change from original planning.
NZR CEO Mark Robinson said: “We were working on the understanding and all our planning and scheduling was on the basis that the All Blacks last match would be on December 5 to give our players and management time to get home, undertake the 14 days’ quarantine back in New Zealand, and then be with their families for Christmas, as will be the case for the other three teams in the Tournament.
“We understand the commercial considerations in the scheduling. However, the wellbeing of our people is an incredibly important factor in this also.
“We are committed to playing in the Rugby Championship and we know the scheduling of matches has been a complex and dynamic issue to work through, especially with quarantine protocols, but we haven’t agreed to this schedule and are disappointed at the announcement.
“We will now work through the issues with Rugby Australia and SANZAAR and believe that there are other solutions within the Rugby Championship window,” Robinson said.
Rugby Australia Interim Chief Executive Rob Clarke responded to the NZR statement by saying said: “For absolute clarity – on two formal occasions – Rugby Australia was supportive of altering the draw so that the Rugby Championship could be played over five weeks. On both occasions, that proposal was rejected which means there was never an agreement to finish the tournament on Saturday 5 December 2020.
“That being said, no one wants players and team management to be away from their families and in quarantine over Christmas. Rugby Australia will do everything in its power to help assist New Zealand Rugby and the team in finding a reasonable resolution, and in urging them to exhaust every possible alternative. There are still more than two months to go before December 12 so we have plenty of time to find a solution.
“We will continue to work with New Zealand Rugby and support them however we can, just like we are doing with the Springboks and Argentina in assisting with their travel plans, as well as making their stay in Australia as safe and as comfortable as possible during the tournament.
“There have been a number of sacrifices made by each of the SANZAAR joint venture partners to get this far and I want to thank all of them for their flexibility and adaptability.
“There is obviously a lot to achieve in the coming months but I’m confident that under the leadership of each of the joint venture partners, that the 2020 Rugby Championship in Australia will be a great success,” Clarke said.
The Rugby Championship 2020 fixtures
Round One – Saturday 7 November 2020
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Argentina v South Africa
Australia v New Zealand
Round Two – Saturday 14 November
Bankwest Stadium, Sydney
New Zealand v Argentina
South Africa v Australia
Round Three – Saturday 21 November
ANZ Stadium, Sydney
New Zealand v South Africa
Australia v Argentina
Round Four – Saturday 28 November
McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Argentina v Australia
South Africa v New Zealand
Round Five – Saturday 5 December
Bankwest Stadium, Sydney
Argentina v New Zealand
Australia v South Africa
Round Six – Saturday 12 December
ANZ Stadium, Sydney
South Africa v Argentina
Australia v New Zealand