A clash with the election won’t be an issue for any Bledisloe Cup Tests scheduled in New Zealand next month, Jacinda Ardern has said, as she downplayed concerns that quarantine protocols could cost Aotearoa the matches.
NZ Rugby and their Australia counterparts are yet to lock in the schedule, but it’s understood October 17, election day, and October 24 are pencilled in as dates for the matches.
Yesterday, new Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said his team would not play a Test on October 10, the original date proposed for the first Test, if quarantine restrictions remained the same.
Ardern said today that a solution for Australian quarantine concerns was possible.
“I don't anticipate that being an issue," she said. "I believe we will be able to find a workable solution to make the Bledisloe Cup happen."
As it currently stands, the Wallabies would be required to quarantine individually for a period after their arrival in New Zealand, before they were allowed to train in bigger groups at various points in their 14-day quarantine.
New Zealand's strict protocols meant Australia was last week named as hosts of the Rugby Championship, which also features South Africa and Argentina.
Ardern said there was reduced risk in just having just the Australians travel to New Zealand for Bledisloe Cup Tests.
"We are still working through logistics," she said.
"Keeping in mind ... it is a different risk profile for teams from Australia than the likes of South Africa or Argentina."
Ardern said normally they would try to avoid an All Blacks Test being played on election day.
“These are unusual times and I’m pretty sure that we are able as a nation are able to accommodate both a rugby game and an election,” she said.
“I would like to see us enjoying a rugby match against the Aussies rather than saying no because it's election day.”
Ardern said she would try to watch the match if it was played on election day.
"I will be trying to do the same [engage in the game]," she said.
"I think the most important thing is that New Zealanders get the chance to see that match."