Rugby-Reshuffle sees Eden Park host back-to-back Bledisloe Cup matches

·2 min read

(Reuters) - Eden Park will host the opening two matches in the Bledisloe Cup after pandemic restrictions forced authorities to reshuffle the schedule of the annual three-match series between New Zealand and Australia as well as games in the Rugby Championship.

The first game of the Bledisloe Cup is due to be played in Auckland on Saturday and the city will now also host the second match, originally scheduled be played in Perth on Aug. 21, on Aug. 14.

Perth Stadium will be the venue for the third meeting, which had been slated to be held in Wellington, on Aug. 28.

"While we are pleased to have some certainty around venues, we feel for our Wellington fans who will now miss out on two Tests," New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson said.

"It's exciting to be in a position where the All Blacks and Australia can now prepare for two Bledisloe Cup tests in New Zealand and what promises to be two great weekends.

"When you consider what's going on around the world we are grateful to be able to host some test rugby and to be playing in front of what is going to be a bumper crowd at Eden Park this weekend."

The New Zealand government has issued an exemption to the Wallabies to travel for the series after closing borders with Australia following a series of COVID-19 outbreaks.

The schedule changes also mean the All Blacks will now play both of their Rugby Championship matches against Argentina in Australia.

Ian Foster's team had been due to face the Pumas in Auckland and Wellington on Sept. 11 and 18 respectively. Details of where and when those games will be played have yet to be announced.

The schedule of Rugby Championship matches involving South Africa and Argentina's games against Australia remain unchanged.

(Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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