Four Test matches in New Zealand have been scrapped following the outbreak of the Delta Covid-19 variant this week.
New Zealand Rugby confirmed on Friday afternoon the All Blacks' two Rugby Championship Tests against the Springboks, as well as the Black Ferns’ two O’Reilly Cup Tests against the Wallaroos won’t go ahead in Aotearoa.
The All Blacks were scheduled to play South Africa at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday 25 September, and at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday 2 October, while The Black Ferns were scheduled to play the Wallaroos at Rugby Park, Christchurch, on Sunday 26 September and at Eden Park as part of a double header with the All Blacks.
New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson said every effort had been made to keep the two Tests 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.
“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.
Robinson also confirmed the All Blacks will not travel to Perth this weekend for the third Bledisloe Cup Test scheduled for Saturday August 28 due to the uncertainty of the Rugby Championship schedule.
“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.
“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 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.”