Bledisloe Cup still on after Wallabies granted travel exemption

By Te Ao - Māori News

With the Trans-Tasman bubble paused due to the rising numbers in Covid cases in Australia, the Wallabies have been given an 'economic exemption' to enter New Zealand for the Bledisloe Cup series against the All Blacks.

The bubble was suspended for eight weeks on July 23, in which New Zealanders in Australia have a seven-day window to return to Aotearoa.

At a Cabinet meeting last week Covid -19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins and Health director-general Dr Ashley Bloomfield  were authorised to consider exemptions on a case-by-case basis for people not normally resident in New Zealand to travel from Australia to New Zealand within the return window for events that have significant economic impacts.

Acting Covid-19 Response Minister Ayesha Verrall granted this exemption for the team.

Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson says, “This is important economically. A test match is estimated to be worth between $17-20 million in spending for host regions, while the broadcast rights provide much-needed income for the sport, which positively affects all levels of the game.

“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 trans-Tasman travel was suspended."

Robertson says that the Wallabies have been operating in their own bubble, and will travel from their base in Queensland on a charter flight to Auckland on July 30, and will have to fulfill all normal obligations for travel including negative pre-departure tests within 72 hours of their travel.

"Decisions on the other games are dependent on discussions between New Zealand Rugby and Rugby Australia.”

“This decision was not taken lightly by the government and given the Wallabies use of a charter flight, there is no restriction on public access to a return flight to New Zealand,” Grant Robertson said.

The first of the three-test Bledisloe Cup series between the All Blacks and Wallabies will be held at Eden Park, on Saturday, August 7.