SANZAAR seeks Government approval to hold entire 2020 Rugby Championship in NZ

SANZAAR have confirmed they are still hopeful of running the Rugby Championship in 2020 despite the Covid-19 pandemic, revealing they are now working to play the entire tournament in New Zealand.

Source: Photosport

SANZAAR chief executive Andy Marinos revealed the update in a statement this morning.

"Having successfully restarted Super Rugby this year in Australia and New Zealand our focus is now on The Rugby Championship that is set to be played in one central location," Marinos said.

"We have determined that New Zealand is currently the favoured option given the Covid stability within the region. Critical to this, however, is alignment with the New Zealand Government around its requirements for this to take place.

"SANZAAR is well advanced in option planning with New Zealand Rugby, which in turn, is now seeking New Zealand Government approval."

In a statement this afternoon after the news went public, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson said the Government are "open" to the idea.

“We are open to the idea of hosting these international games here, but of course we will need to ensure they can be held safely and we have the appropriate facilities available so that players can isolate and train upon entry to New Zealand," Mr Robertson said.

“Discussions are underway about this in the context of the Government’s wider border and isolation management strategy.

“These kinds of economic opportunities are what we expect given the advantage New Zealand has because of the Government’s decision to go hard and early in the response to Covid-19.”

Rugby Australia already offered to host the tournament last month in what it saw as a way to recover some of the finances it has lost during the pandemic but the country's troubles with containing the coronavirus recently has left SANZAAR looking across the Tasman Sea.

It's understood the tournament would be eight weeks long and could possibly integrate the Bledisloe Cup Test series between the All Blacks and Wallabies which is rumoured to be taking place between October 10 and November 8.

Marinos added he hoped that details on the tournament - which features New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina - will be announced in the near future.