The Bledisloe Cup clash in Perth has been locked in for September 5 after days of wrangling between Rugby Australia (RA), Rugby New Zealand (RNZ) and the AFL.
- New Zealand lead the Bledisloe Cup series 2-0
- The All Blacks will be without Sam Whitelock, Aaron Smith and Richie Mo’unga due to paternity leave
- After the match in Perth, the remainder of the Rugby Championship series will be played in Queensland
The blockbuster showdown was all set to be played at Perth Stadium on August 28, but RA was left fuming when RNZ refused to fly the All Blacks to Perth earlier this month, citing player welfare concerns.
That move sparked a fierce war of words between RA and RNZ, with Wallabies coach Dave Rennie saying he was “bloody angry” about the last-minute backflip.
The two organisations had been locked in tense negotiations since as they tried to find a window to play the match, with their hopes for a September 5 clash hitting a hurdle due to the AFL reserving Perth Stadium for the entire weekend.
The AFL appears increasingly likely to play finals in Perth that week, with Friday, September 3 and Saturday, September 4 their preferred options.
But the AFL also wanted the option of playing the game on the Sunday just in case a team needed the extra day to complete their initial seven-day quarantine period.
The Rugby Championship’s governing body announced on Thursday that Perth Stadium had now been locked in for the Wallabies-All Blacks clash on September 5.
The All Blacks will be without stand-in captain Sam Whitelock, scrumhalf Aaron Smith and flyhalf Richie Mo’unga due to paternity leave.
New Zealand lead the Bledisloe Cup series 2-0, but the match in Perth is set to be extra spicy given the simmering tensions that have emerged between the rugby powerhouses.
Rennie unloaded on NZR last week when it was announced they were keeping the All Blacks in NZ until the Rugby Championship schedule was sorted.
NZR did not want to send the All Blacks to Perth without players knowing what was to come after the match.
“I just feel there’s only one of us who is interested in doing what’s best for the game,” Rennie said at the time.
“We’ve all made sacrifices to ensure that the games are played for the financial benefit of everyone and the good of the game.”
After the match in Perth, the remainder of the Rugby Championship series also featuring Argentina and South Africa will be played in Queensland.