New Zealand Rugby has expressed its disappointment over the possibility of All Blacks players having to this year choose between playing in the Rugby Championship, and spending Christmas with their families. And the blame, says New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson, lies with Sanzaar and the recently released championship’s draw.
The issue purportedly lies with the Australian-based tournament having scheduled the All Blacks to play their last game of the tournament against the Wallabies on December 12. What this means for the New Zealand side, is that failing a special exemption granted by the Kiwi government, neither players nor members of staff will have completed their managed mandatory separation period in time for a pre-Christmas Day homecoming. In such an event, the All Blacks will only be able to re-join their families and friends on December 27.
A fuming Robinson explained his frustration with the situation as being the result of the ongoing understanding having been one of the All Blacks competing in their final test of the tournament on December 5 – which would have allowed players and staff the necessary time to get home, spend the mandatory 14 days separated from everyone else, and join their families for Christmas. Though Robinson said he understood the schedule’s “commercial considerations”, this should not have outranked the personal and mental wellbeing of the people involved.
New Zealand Rugby never agreed to the schedule in its current format, stressed Robinson. The organisation now intends to work through the scheduling issues with Sanzaar and with Rugby Australia as Robinson said NZ Rugby believes that there are alternative available solutions.
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