Travel Recreation

Bledisloe Cup to continue after New Zealand grants travel exemption to Wallabies | Bledisloe Cup

The Bledisloe Cup will continue in New Zealand, after the Wallabies were granted a special exemption to enter the country.

The fate of the scheduled match was up in the air after New Zealand paused quarantine-free between the two countries for two months last week, following news of the Covid-19 outbreak in Australia.

New Zealanders were given a seven-day window to return home.

Special exemptions can be made for people not normally resident in New Zealand to travel from Australia to New Zealand, within the return window, for events which have significant economic impacts.

The acting minister for Covid-19 response, Ayesha Verrall, approved the Wallabies’ exemption, citing the Cup’s economic importance for New Zealand.

The deputy prime minister and minister for sport and recreation, Grant Robertson, said the decision was not taken lightly.

A Test match is estimated to be worth $17-20m for host regions, and broadcast rights provide much-needed income for the sport, he said.

“Test rugby between the All Blacks and the Wallabies is keenly anticipated by New Zealanders, and I welcome the decision to allow the Australian team to travel given the game was less than two weeks away when [the] trans-Tasman travel was suspended.”

The Wallabies have been operating in their own bubble for some time, and will travel from their base in Queensland on a charter flight to Auckland on Friday morning, Robertson said.

The Wallabies will have to fulfil all normal obligations for travel including negative pre-departure tests within 72 hours of their travel.

The match will take place at Eden Park in Auckland on 7 August.

Decisions on the other games will depend on ongoing discussions between New Zealand Rugby and Rugby Australia, Robertson said.

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