Rugby Australia have responded to the growing issue of this year's Rugby Championship draw, saying they will do all they can to help Rugby New Zealand find a solution.
The draw for this year's Australia-based competition was released this morning and almost immediately met with disdain by NZR who said they didn't agree to the fixtures as the final Test will mean All Blacks players will be in managed quarantine during Christmas, away from families.
While SANZAAR boss Andy Marinos met NZR's comments with a stern response earlier today, Rugby Australia interim chief executive Rob Clarke has gone for a softer approach in a statement this afternoon.
"No one wants players and team management to be away from their families and in quarantine over Christmas," Clarke said.
"Rugby Australia will do everything in its power to help assist New Zealand Rugby and the team in finding a reasonable resolution, and in urging them to exhaust every possible alternative. There are still more than two months to go before December 12 so we have plenty of time to find a solution.
“We will continue to work with New Zealand Rugby and support them however we can, just like we are doing with the Springboks and Argentina in assisting with their travel plans, as well as making their stay in Australia as safe and as comfortable as possible during the tournament."
NZR had previously been fighting in the board rooms for a five-week tournament to ensure they're players could be home in time for Christmas - a proposal Clarke said Rugby Australia backed.
“For absolute clarity - on two formal occasions - Rugby Australia was supportive of altering the draw so that the Rugby Championship could be played over five weeks.
"On both occasions, that proposal was rejected which means there was never an agreement to finish the tournament on Saturday 5 December 2020."
Clarke said he's still confident the Rugby Championship will go off without a hitch though.
“There is obviously a lot to achieve in the coming months but I’m confident that under the leadership of each of the joint venture partners, that the 2020 Rugby Championship in Australia will be a great success."