Travel Restrictions Make the All Blacks Cancel Matches

The New Zealand men’s rugby team, have canceled three tests matches against South Africa and Australia due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

The new outbreak of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus in New Zealand has brought lockdown restrictions until at least Tuesday at 11:59 p.m.

The All Blacks were scheduled to play Australia this Saturday in Perth for the third Bledisloe Cup Test match and later to play in the Rugby Championship, a test series contested between New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina.

However, given the current uncertainty over The Rugby Championship schedule, the New Zealand team will not travel.

Mark Robinson, the CEO of NZR, said that the decision is based on the inability to assure that the team will come back home.

“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,” he said in a statement.

“We remain 100 percent 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.”

New Zealand women’s rugby team was scheduled to play Australia in Christchurch on September 26 but that game has also been canceled due to travel restrictions.

Robinson said that efforts are made for the team to play the test matches in New Zealand.

“We share the disappointment of our fans, players and other stakeholders, particularly those in Dunedin where the sold-out 100th Test between the All Blacks and South Africa was shaping up as a very special occasion,” he said.

“However, after discussions with Government, it is clear that the Covid-19 travel restrictions meant there was no way of bringing the South African and Wallaroos squads into New Zealand and we understand the importance of putting the health and safety of New Zealanders first.”