New Zealand has 'appetite' to host Wales, Scotland Tests in October
Last Updated: 03/06/20 11:09am
New Zealand Rugby is "optimistic" it may be able to reschedule postponed international matches against Wales and Scotland for later in the year.
The All Blacks were due to play three Tests against Wales in July, and one against Scotland also in July, but the games were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
But speaking on Radio New Zealand, NZR chief executive Mark Robinson said there was an "appetite" for a number of possibilities, including playing the All Blacks' postponed Tests against Wales and Scotland in October, depending on the status of club competitions in the northern hemisphere.
"We're certainly excited about the possibility of July moving to October, it's very much a wait and see," he said.
New Zealand is edging closer to lifting social distancing restrictions and will decide on Monday whether it is ready to lower its COVID-19 alert system a notch to level 1, which would end curbs on mass gatherings and allow fans at sporting events.
The country recorded no new cases of coronavirus for a 12th consecutive day on Wednesday and while it has no immediate plans to reopen its border Robinson believes a "not insignificant" schedule of international rugby in the last quarter of 2020 is possible.
"Were talking to all different parties around what that might look like," he added. "Some are the northern hemisphere, some in terms of our SANZAAR partners."
"The underlying sense is one of optimism."
Robinson said NZR was also looking at opportunities involving Pacific nations, which have recorded minimal COVID-19 infections.
"They could be a (Pacific) team or a selection of a team," he said.
"There are others that are reaching out and they are looking at New Zealand and seeing whether there is an opportunity to come here depending on border and quarantine issues."
Rugby Australia interim CEO Rob Clarke said on Tuesday the governing body was in talks with its New Zealand, Argentina and South Africa counterparts about hosting the nations in a "hub" to allow a condensed Rugby Championship to go ahead.