Rugby officials are well advanced in their planning for New Zealand to host the rugby championship, with New Zealand Rugby seeking government approval for Australia, South Africa and Argentina teams to play here amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement, SANZAAR chief executive Andy Marinos has confirmed the tournament will be played in one central location with New Zealand the “favoured option given the Covid stability within the region.”

Marinos hopes details of test match dates can be announced soon.

There was no confirmation of dates but all of the national rugby teams from South Africa, Australia and Argentina, would need to complete a 14-day quarantine period upon arrival in New Zealand.

Marinos added they were working to give Argentina’s players “some meaningful match preparation” ahead of the Rugby Championship.

Argentina’s players have been idle since mid-March, when Super Rugby went into shutdown.

Marinos also maintains the SANZAAR partnerhsip is not being dismantled.

New Zealand Rugby’s Aratipu report into the future of super rugby has suggested an end to the competition but Marinos maintains the member nations are committed to the partnership amid competition restructuring.

“There is a clear understanding that the value of the SANZAAR alliance and the pathway of Super Rugby to international rugby remains critical to the long-term success, development and competitiveness of the respective National Teams.

“Our record in cross-hemisphere matches and World Cup tournaments are evidence of this,” he said.

Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson said the Government is keen to work with New Zealand Rugby and SANZAAR to see if tournament can be held safely in New Zealand.

“We are open to the idea of hosting these international games here, but of course we will need to ensure they can be held safely and we have the appropriate facilities available so that players can isolate and train upon entry to New Zealand,” he said.

RNZ

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