Rugby Australia Chief Executive Andy Marinos is “optimistic” the Wallabies’ Bledisloe Cup meeting with New Zealand will go ahead in Perth despite the All Blacks’ withdrawal from next Saturday’s game because of concerns over COVID-19 restrictions.
The third meeting of the series between the teams – which also doubles up as the countries’ second clash in this year’s Rugby Championship – was scheduled to be played in West Australia on Aug. 28.
But after a decision on Friday by New Zealand Rugby to pull out of the game sparked a war of words between the nations rugby officials, Marinos is confident the match can still happen on a later date.
“We’re working hard now with the West Australian government and the stadium to see if we can’t move that to September 4,” Marinos told Channel Nine on Sunday.
“We remain optimistic and confident we can get the game away eventually in Perth.”
NZR chief executive Mark Robinson on Saturday refuted claims RA not been consulted before the All Blacks pulled out having won the opening two encounters in Auckland earlier in the month.
“We had calls right through from Wednesday, Thursday, we put something in writing on Thursday and then we spoke to them before anything was released,” Robinson told Newstalk ZB.
“Certainly I know that senior All Blacks and Wallabies were discussing the situation and our players were making them aware of the reality of our situation.”
Despite the decision, which also saw the cancellation of the All Blacks’ home matches in The Rugby Championship against South Africa, Robinson stressed NZR still planned to play the third Bledisloe Cup game.
“We understand that Rugby Australia are under severe financial pressure,” said Robinson. “This is an important game for them and we are committed to playing that match.
“The reality is, under those circumstances, that frustration manifests with what we saw yesterday; a lot of emotion, a lot of frustration, sometimes possibly not all the information, and that’s the result of that.”
Marinos, however, remained unconvinced that the All Blacks had planned to travel to Perth for the game as it was scheduled.
“I don’t think they really had any intention of fulfilling that game on the 28th,” he said.
“We feel there’s been a significant amount of compromise and sacrifice on our side.
“We don’t feel that’s being reciprocated at the moment. They just keep putting up roadblocks.”