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‘Bloody angry’ Rennie slams New Zealand Rugby, Wallabies set for TRC opener in Paris

“We’re in limbo a little bit now, too. I just feel there is only one of us who are interested in doing what’s best for the game. It tells you more about them than us, I would say.”

Rennie’s comments reflect the angry mood within RA. The governing body are fuming at the decision to postpone next weekend’s Test, given RA were cooperative when NZR required assistance earlier this month.

Dave Rennie speaks with captain Michael Hooper as Matt Philip watches on at training.

Dave Rennie speaks with captain Michael Hooper as Matt Philip watches on at training. Credit:Getty

The third Bledisloe Test may still be played in Western Australia. Sources with knowledge of discussions told the Herald the All Blacks may still be granted an exemption to enter WA next week and RA hope to play the Test on September 4.

Comments from Premier McGowan cast doubt on that scenario, however. Asked about the All Blacks’ decision on Friday, the WA Premier said: “We’ll have look at what the contractual arrangements were. I understand the state committed some money towards that, we will work out exactly what it was and seek to get our money back.

“I only just found out about it … I don’t know why they’ve done that, obviously we were working on the quarantine arrangements that we put in place for football [AFL]… that’s worked incredibly well.“

Fans that have purchased tickets to the August 28 Test will have their tickets transferred to September 4. If they can’t attend on that date, they will be given a refund.

After the final Bledisloe Cup Test, the Rugby Championship will move to Europe.

Sources with knowledge of the evolving situation told the Herald the first of four double headers between Australia and South Africa, and New Zealand and Argentina, will be played in Paris. Dates are yet to be confirmed.

After Paris, the four nations will play – in no particular order – in London, Dublin and Cardiff. The Wallabies will then be given some time off in Europe before they begin their spring tour campaign.

While moving the entire tournament is far from RA’s ideal outcome, playing in Europe will allow families to join the tour if they are willing to complete 14 days of hotel quarantine upon their return to Australia.

It’s the second time RA have moved the Perth Test to accommodate the All Blacks. Initially, the third Bledisloe Cup Test was to be played on Saturday night. But RA relented to NZR’s request to push the Test back one week and play back-to-back matches at Eden Park in seven days.

New Zealand played in Perth in 2019 but their fixture on August 28 has been called off.

New Zealand played in Perth in 2019 but their fixture on August 28 has been called off. Credit:Stuart Walmsley/Rugby AU Media

“Not sure if shocked is the right word because I’m not surprised but our boys have been away for a long time last year,” Rennie said.

“Our Rebels boys spent three months during Super Rugby away from home and three months away from us. All the Queenslanders were away for three months last year.

“We have all made sacrifices to ensure games are played for the financial benefit of everyone and the good of the game.

“Incredibly disappointed if they’re playing the welfare card, our NSW guys haven’t been home for eight weeks either and with no clear end in sight, either.

“We will do what we can to benefit the game. New Zealand’s attitude to not honour their commitment is extremely disappointing. It’s all about them, without any concept of what it’s doing over here.”

Earlier, Marinos also slammed the decision.

“It’s incredibly disappointing to be informed of this decision via the media, despite having a conversation with the CEO moments before and there [being] no mention that this was the intention,” Marinos said.

“We will continue to leave no stone unturned in finding an option… for the Perth Test.

“The team has been in camp since the end of June and jumped on a plane at the end of July to go to New Zealand with no certainty as to what the Test schedule will look like, or when they would be home.

“Despite this outcome, I am confident we will find a solution for the whole Rugby Championship in what continues to be a very challenging environment in which to work.

“We have been engaging in positive discussions with both teams as well as government partners and we’re confident we were close to finding a solution.”

New Zealand is currently in lockdown until at least Wednesday due to a COVID outbreak, which grew to 31 cases on Friday.

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Marinos’ comments were prompted by his counterpart in New Zealand, Mark Robinson, who sent the RA, NZR relationship spiralling when he postponed the final Bledisloe.

“Without complete certainty on the team’s next movements around The Rugby Championship we felt it was prudent for the team to stay put in New Zealand until SANZAAR have announced the full tournament schedule,” Robinson said.

“Once the team leaves our shores, they currently can’t return until November 23 post their Northern Tour, so given the uncertainty, it makes sense to pause and get more clarity on these fixtures.

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

SANZAAR also issued a statement expressing disappointment in NZR’s decision.

“SANZAAR is very disappointed that the New Zealand Rugby Union has made the decision not to travel to Perth at this time to play Australia for its second-round match [and Third Bledisloe match],” the statement said.

“However, SANZAAR and the other national unions will continue to work on when and where this match can be played as part of the overall rescheduling work being done. SANZAAR also recognises that this decision is incredibly disappointing for rugby fans in Perth.”

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