Australian Rugby is in talks with the government about allowing New Zealand, South Africa and Argentine teams to enter the country and based in the “hub” for the thick Rugby Championship later this year.
After two months of being locked to restrain the spread of COVID-19, Australian authorities allowed the sport to restart domestic competition but international equipment was still in doubt due to travel restrictions and border controls.
“We are exploring with the Australian government whether it can be a bubble here in Australia and we fly across all SANZAAR partners and they are in a training bubble and then we can quarantine effectively and play competition,” interim RA CEO Rob Clarke told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday.
SANZAAR, which consists of partner rugby unions in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Argentina, is the governing body of the Fourth State Rugby Championship and Super Rugby.
Australian and New Zealand officials have been talking for weeks to open the “trans-Tasman bubble” of free travel between the two countries, which has reduced COVID-19 infection to dripping.
New Zealand Rugby did not comment immediately when contacted by Reuters.
Clarke confirmed that RA was trying to extend the annual Bledisloe Cup series between the Wallabies and the All Blacks to four tests from the usual three tests.
“This is a great product, getting a lot of attention and we feel at least a four-game series is something we can work on this year’s calendar to work for them and us,” Clarke said.
RA said on Monday it would lay off a third of full-time staff along with dozens of contacts and casual workers to deal with the financial pressures brought on by COVID-19.
Clarke said the RA high performance program would not be affected.
“An important part of our financial foundation is successful Wallabies,” he said.
“That’s not everything, but it’s definitely the key so we will protect it as much as possible.”
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