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NZR optimistic about Test rugby in 2021, including end-of-year tours for both All Blacks and Black Ferns

New Zealand Rugby is confident rugby fans will see plenty of international action this year with the All Blacks looking at a full calendar and the Black Ferns filling the void left by the postponed World Cup.

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NZR expect to see the All Blacks play Fiji, Italy and more this year. Source: 1 NEWS

NZR CEO Mark Robinson discussed the two international teams with media today, saying chances of Test rugby this year for both teams are promising.

For the All Blacks, Robinson said plans are already being put in place for numerous scenarios involving travel restrictions and the global pandemic to ensure international matches go ahead.

"We're hopeful the Steinlager Series, the Rugby Championship and end-of-year tour will go ahead," Robinson said.

"We're working really closely with the Government and all relative agencies around health and border to try and understand at the earliest possible time what can be possible, but it's safe to say some of those conversations are progressing positively.

"We're also working with partners in countries such as Fiji and Italy who are up for the Steinlager Series as well as SANZAAR partners to understand what their governments are saying."

Robinson added that NZR is looking to finalise an end of year tour schedule soon as well, but there's an important milestone to address first.

"We're also hugely excited that the 100th Test between the All Blacks and the Springboks will be played when those two great teams play each other.

"It's 100 years since the first game was played — 1921 in Dunedin — and we're also hopeful that whatever happens later in the year in the Rugby Championship, we would love to play that at home if South Africa are unable to host."

For the Black Ferns, Robinson said multiple options are being explored now that the disappointment of the World Cup being postponed has been put behind them.

"We pretty quickly went in to planning for how the Black Ferns could get as much high-quality rugby as possible under their belt in preparation for 2022.

"We're looking at a combination of domestic rugby for them and a couple of scenarios where we're committed to bringing teams into New Zealand and a reasonably extensive end of year tour for the Black Ferns."