Queensland to host Rugby Championship

The Wallabies will play a number of Rugby Championship matches in Queensland.

The Wallabies will play a number of Rugby Championship matches in Queensland. Photo: Getty

The All Blacks will join the Wallabies in Perth for the final Bledisloe Cup match of 2021 before the remainder of the Rugby Championship is played in Queensland.

The All Blacks refused to leave New Zealand last week without the full schedule for the four-nation tournament locked away, bringing the relationship between the trans-Tasman rivals to a new low.

With the Wallabies already in Perth, Rugby Australia had sold 60,000 tickets to the match in a much-needed money spinner.

On Tuesday, SANZAAR announced the dates and locations for the rest of the Rugby Championship after finally securing approval from the Queensland government for South Africa and Argentina teams to train while in quarantine.

The matches will be played as double-headers over four weekends, starting with Gold Coast on September 12 and then in Brisbane and Townsville before the final round back at Gold Coast’s Cbus Super Stadium on October 2.

The Wallabies will take on South Africa, for the first time since the Springboks won the 2019 World Cup, on September 12 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 September 25.

Rugby Australia boss Andy Marinos said Queensland was the “preferred position” by the SANZAAR alliance who signed off on the tournament Monday night.

He admitted that playing in Europe could have been more lucrative, but also more risky with the teams needing to sell tickets to nine games with little lead-in time.

“When we looked at the construct of the Rugby Championship this year, it was always going to be held between Australia and New Zealand and when New Zealand’s position changed because of the COVID-19 outbreak, Australia remained the preferred option,” Mr Marinos said.

“I think everyone just believed that we needed to close that loop before we looked at anything else.”

Mr Marinos said being unable to play games in New Zealand, particularly the Centenary Test, would mean a revenue hit while there would be additional costs related to quarantine.

Mr Marinos hoped to announce by Thursday the new date for the postponed Bledisloe Cup/Rugby Championship Test but it will be played in the WA capital on the weekend of September 3-5.

Rugby will work around the AFL final at Optus Stadium that weekend.

“I’m working quite closely with both the stadium and the Deputy Premier Roger Cook in trying to get finality,” Mr Marinos said.

“I think it’s fair to say we’ll look at that whole weekend and get the right date … the most important thing for me is to be able to put the Test match on and deliver a really good product for the people of Western Australia.”

The All Blacks need to fly to Perth on Thursday with the WA government demanding seven days of soft quarantine before the match.

The Springboks and Pumas will arrive in Queensland by Friday from South Africa after playing their second Test there on the weekend.

The teams will be based at Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast during their 14-day managed quarantine and will have no contact with hotel workers, contractors and the general public.

Rugby Championship schedule (times to be announced):

Round One

August 14: New Zealand 57-22 Australia, Eden Park, Auckland

August 14: South Africa 32-12 Argentina, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

Round Two

August 21: Argentina 10-29 South Africa, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

Date TBC: Australia v New Zealand, Optus Stadium, Perth*

Round Three

September 12: New Zealand v Argentina, South Africa v Australia, Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast

Round Four

September 18: Argentina v New Zealand, Australia v South Africa, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Round Five

September 25: Australia v Argentina, New Zealand v South Africa, Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville

Round Six

October 2: Argentina v Australia, South Africa v New Zealand, Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast

*doubles as third Bledisloe Cup match


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