Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has ruled out playing all three Bledisloe Cup Tests in New Zealand but says the proposed dates may change to accommodate the COVID-19 travel restrictions.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern suspended the trans-Tasman travel bubble on Friday night for at least eight weeks.
It means Australians are unable to travel to NZ without quarantining, and New Zealanders returning home will also face a range of quarantine and self-isolation measures.
Rugby Australia and New Zealand Rugby have sought government exemption for players to move freely across the ditch for the Bledisloe and Rugby Championship.
Rennie ruled out talk of all three Bledisloe Tests being played in NZ. He said he did not believe the Wallabies would have to quarantine upon entering NZ but they would head over early.
"I think we can get an exemption to get in as a squad, we have been constantly Covid tested twice a week for the last few weeks and we'll test again today or test again on Wednesday and the likelihood is we'll travel Friday," he said.
"As far as we understand it, if we go over this week and everyone's Covid free, then there won't be any issues. The likelihood is we will end up having to stay in New Zealand longer."
Bledisloe Tests were set to take place on August 7 in Auckland, August 21 in Perth and August 28 in Wellington. However, Rennie flagged these may change to having the first two Tests in NZ on August 7 and 14, before flying to Perth on the 21.
"Obviously, we can't play on the 28th if it means going to Perth and flying back to New Zealand so we've talked about being prepared to be flexible and play on the 14th in New Zealand," he said.
"That's one of the likely outcomes but there's certainly no option to play all three tests in New Zealand."
The travel restrictions also led the side to select 42 players to take to NZ for the Bledisloe and international Tests against South Africa and Argentina.
Rennie said the Covid situation in NSW and Victoria made it impossible to get players out of the two states partway through the campaign, with all to travel to NZ and back.
"There is no chance of getting anyone out of NSW, out of Victoria ... to come in partway through this campaign. So we were looking at worst case scenario, making sure the quality depth and all spots, is the reason why the squad numbers have increased," he said.
"We can't get into Perth out of Queensland, so hence the reason why we will go to New Zealand for a couple of weeks. Because then we'll be able to go in without quarantine issues."
Proposed Bledisloe Cup fixtures
- New Zealand v Wallabies, August 7 Eden Park, Auckland 5.05pm
- Wallabies v New Zealand, August 21 Optus Stadium, Perth 8pm
- New Zealand v Wallabies, August 28 Sky Stadium, Wellington 5.05pm
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