Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie has said he is “bloody angry” at the All Blacks for pulling out of their scheduled match against Australia in Perth next weekend.
Australia and New Zealand were set to play each other in the third Bledisloe Cup test at Optus Stadium in Perth on September 28, in a game that doubles up as a second-round Rugby Championship game.
However, the All Blacks announced this morning that they will not travel to Perth due to uncertainties in the Rugby Championship schedule, as well as cancelling their two home matches against the Springboks in September and October.
Dave Rennie slams All Blacks for pulling out of Perth test.
Rugby Australia was not informed of New Zealand Rugby’s decision before they made the announcement publicly, a decision which has further angered rugby officials Down Under.
Rennie, who is a New Zealander himself, was speaking to the media after learning of the All Blacks’ decision and slammed the lack of respect shown to his side by New Zealand rugby chiefs.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) August 20, 2021
“Bloody angry. I think it’s disappointing how it has been communicated. Our boys all found out through social media,” Rennie said, via Rugby.com.au.
“I thought New Zealand Rugby didn’t even have the respect to consult RA about their decision so that’s hugely disappointing.”
New Zealand Rugby’s statement on deciding not to travel to Perth.
New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson explained in a statement this morning that the decision not to travel to Perth was taken with player welfare in mind.
As the All Blacks have announced that they will be playing no more home matches for the remainder of the year, the team won’t return home until after their final test match of the year against France on November 20 is played, due to the current strict travel rules New Zealand have in place in response to the pandemic.
“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.”
Dave Rennie incensed by the All Blacks’ decision.
In response to New Zealand Rugby’s player welfare comments, Rennie pointed out that members of his squad who live in New South Wales, much of which is currently in lockdown, will be away from their homes and families for an even longer period of time.
The Wallabies had also agreed to a change in the schedule which allowed two matches of their Bledisloe Cup matches to be played in New Zealand by pushing the date of the Perth test back by a week.
Those two games in New Zealand have now both been played, but the All Blacks currently look unlikely to travel to Perth for their third and final match against the Wallabies this year.
“We made a commitment to play a Test in Auckland on the 7th of August and while we had players away from home for six weeks already out of NSW, we honoured that commitment,” Rennie explained.
“They asked to play an extra game because we couldn’t go back to Wellington on the 28th and we honoured that as well. They made a commitment to come on the 21st which was pushed back to the 28th and now they are not coming.
“It’s disappointing for the Perth community but also disappointing for our players because we’re in limbo as well. What we know is that we’ll get clarity over the next couple of days around the Rugby Championship and where it’s going to be held.
“Whether that’s Brisbane, South Africa or Europe, the games are to take place on those dates, the 11th or the 12th are the first ones.
“New Zealand could’ve come here, played the game knowing we have a Rugby Championship game a week afterwards.
“If they are playing the welfare card, well our New South Wales boys haven’t been home for eight weeks already with no clear end in sight and the likelihood they won’t get home until late November to then be in quarantine.”