Australia

Rugby Championship headed to Queensland for four weeks of double-headers

Queensland will host Rugby Championship games in a series of double-headers played in Brisbane, Townsville and the Gold Coast in order to complete this year’s competition.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on Tuesday her state would play host to a majority of matches remaining in the four-nation competition, saving it from moving to South Africa or Europe.

Games played in Queensland will be held over four weekends from September 13 to October 2.

Rugby Australia hopes to confirm this week that the Wallabies’ postponed Bledisloe Cup/Rugby Championship Test against New Zealand in Perth will be played in the WA capital on September 4.

SANZAAR boss Brendan Morris said the recent COVID-19 outbreaks in Australia had made planning difficult.

Rugby Championship matches were initially set down for Sydney, Newcastle and Canberra but those cities remained in lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreaks in NSW and the ACT.

“We thought last year was tough when we had to implement a Tri-Nations tournament in Australia with South Africa absent due to the pandemic, but the current disruption caused by the Delta variant of COVID-19 has seen government authorities tighten up border bio-security measures substantially,” Morris said.

“This is understandable, and therefore we had no option but to basically move the remainder of the Rugby Championship to Queensland.

“On behalf of SANZAAR and the national unions, I would like to sincerely thank the Queensland Government for working with us around the clock to provide a travel, accommodation, training and playing environment that will safely allow us to complete the tournament.”

The final Bledisloe Cup game could be played in Perth on September 4.(

Getty Images: Hannah Peters

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

The chief executives of the four SANZAAR nations met online on Monday to agree on the tournament schedule.

Quarantine circumstances for South Africa and Argentina also needed to be nailed down.

The Queensland government is believed to have given the visiting teams permission to train while completing their 14-day quarantine period.

The Springboks and Pumas are set to arrive by Friday from South Africa after playing their second Test there on the weekend.

AAP


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