Queensland will host Rugby Championship games in a series of double-headers with matches to be played in Brisbane, Townsville and on the Gold Coast. The Wallabies will take on South Africa, for the first time since the Springboks won the 2019 World Cup, on the Gold Coast on 12 September, before a second showdown in Brisbane six days later.
The centenary Test between the All Blacks and Springboks will be played at Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville on 25 September. With South Africa and Europe considered as possible hosts for the remainder of the four-nation competition, the new schedule sees games played in Queensland over four weekends from 12 September to 2 October.
Rugby Australia hopes to confirm this week that the Wallabies’ postponed Bledisloe Cup/Rugby Championship Test against New Zealand in Perth will be played in the Western Australian capital on 4 September.
Sanzaar boss Brendan Morris said the recent Covid-19 outbreaks in Australia had made planning difficult. Rugby Championship matches were initially set down for Sydney, Newcastle and Canberra but those cities remain in lockdown due to the Covid-19 outbreaks in NSW and the ACT.
“We thought last year was tough when we had to implement a Tri-Nations tournament in Australia with South Africa absent due to the pandemic, but the current disruption caused by the Delta variant of Covid-19 has seen government authorities tighten up border biosecurity measures substantially,” Morris said.
“This is understandable and therefore, we had no option but to basically move the remainder of the Rugby Championship to Queensland. On behalf of Sanzaar and the national unions, I would like to sincerely thank the Queensland government for working with us around the clock to provide a travel, accommodation, training and playing environment that will safely allow us to complete the tournament.”
The teams will be based at Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast during their managed quarantine and will have no contact with hotel workers, contractors and the general public. The Springboks and Pumas are set to arrive by Friday from South Africa after playing their second Test there on the weekend.
Rugby Championship schedule (times to be announced):
Saturday, 14 August: New Zealand 57 bt Australia 22 at Eden Park, Auckland
Saturday, 14 August: South Africa 32 bt Argentina 12 at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Saturday, 21 August: Argentina 29 bt South Africa 10 at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Date TBC: Australia v New Zealand – Optus Stadium, Perth*
Sunday, 12 September: New Zealand v Argentina, South Africa v Australia at Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast
Saturday, 18 September: Argentina v New Zealand, Australia v South Africa at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Saturday, 25 September: Australia v Argentina, New Zealand v South Africa at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
Saturday, 2 October: Argentina v Australia, South Africa v New Zealand at Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast
*doubles as third Bledisloe Cup match