Picture: 123RF/RADUTUTA
Picture: 123RF/RADUTUTA

New Zealand aims to co-host the 2021 Rugby Championship with one of its southern hemisphere partners, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) boss Mark Robinson said on Tuesday, though SA has already indicated it is not interested in staging games.

The 2020 Rugby Championship (TRC) was held entirely in Australia due to the Covid-19 pandemic though it was rebranded the “Tri-Nations” after world champions SA pulled out.

SA, who are scheduled to host the British and Irish Lions tour in July-August, do not want to be involved in co-hosting the four-nation TRC, Robinson told reporters in Wellington.

“At this stage, they have signalled that they don’t wish to host the Rugby Championship this year,” he said. “Our view at the moment is there may be a great opportunity to do a co-hosting format.

“We’ve got games the All Blacks are involved in we’d love to host in New Zealand, so that’ll be something we’re working towards.

“But ultimately that’s a decision for Sanzaar to make with the feedback of its joint venture partners.”

Australia have already said they are pushing to host the entire championship, which is likely to be staged in September-October. Robinson said New Zealand are focused on hosting the 100th match against the Springboks, 100 years on from their first clash in Dunedin in 1921.

He added that RNZ would wait two to three weeks longer before deciding whether to push on with the Trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition with Australia’s teams.

The five-week tournament is scheduled to start on May 14 in Dunedin but quarantine requirements in New Zealand for travellers from Australia could make it untenable.

New Zealand’s deputy prime minister, Grant Robertson, said recently the country was close to allowing Australians to visit without quarantining on arrival.

Reuters

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