Christmas in quarantine on the cards for All Blacks

New Zealand Rugby has cast doubt over the Rugby Championship with the national body yet to commit to the schedule.

The draw was released this morning with the All Blacks set to play their last game (against Australia) on December 12th, meaning the players won't be home for christmas once they've undergone a two week quarantine.

New Zealand Rugby says the release of the schedule from Rugby Australia and SANZAAR is a change from original planning.

The All Blacks are scheduled to play Australia in Brisbane on Saturday 7 November and Argentina the following Saturday in Sydney on 14 November.

The team is then scheduled to play back to back Tests against South Africa in Sydney on 21 November and Newcastle on Saturday 28 November, with a second Test against Argentina on Saturday 5 December in Sydney and a final scheduled match against the Wallabies in Sydney on Saturday 12 December.

NZR CEO Mark Robinson said: "We were working on the understanding and all our planning and scheduling was on the basis that the All Blacks last match would be on December 5 to give our players and management time to get home, undertake the 14 days' quarantine back in New Zealand, and then be with their families for Christmas, All Blacks to be home for Christmas, as will be the case for the other three teams in the Tournament.

"We understand the commercial considerations in the scheduling. However, the wellbeing of our people is an incredibly important factor in this also.

"We are committed to playing in the Rugby Championship and we know the scheduling of matches has been a complex and dynamic issue to work through, especially with quarantine protocols, but we haven't agreed to this schedule and are disappointed at the announcement.

"We will now work through the issues with Rugby Australia and SANZAAR and believe that there are other solutions within the Rugby Championship window," Robinson said.

New Zealand Rugby Players association boss Rob Nichol said last week that having the players in quarantine during Christmas wasn't an option.

"Each team is going to have to deal with the fact that we've got to be out of Australia by the 6th of December, that's the date everyone's talking about. Clearly the draw has got to be looked at pretty closely and be quite innovative, but you're looking at six test matches over five weeks to make sure that no-one is in quarantine over Christmas because that was never going to work for anyone," Nichol said last week.

The Rugby Championship 2020 fixtures

Round One - Saturday 7 November 2020

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Argentina v South Africa

Australia v New Zealand

Round Two - Saturday 14 November

Bankwest Stadium, Sydney

New Zealand v Argentina

South Africa v Australia

Round Three - Saturday 21 November

ANZ Stadium, Sydney

New Zealand v South Africa

Australia v Argentina

Round Four - Saturday 28 November

McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle

Argentina v Australia

South Africa v New Zealand

Round Five - Saturday 5 December

Bankwest Stadium, Sydney

Argentina v New Zealand

Australia v South Africa

Round Six - Saturday 12 December

ANZ Stadium, Sydney

South Africa v Argentina

Australia v New Zealand