All Blacks play down prospects of hosting Springboks centenary

Wellington (AFP) –


New Zealand Rugby has played down prospects of the All Blacks hosting this year's historic centenary Test against South Africa, with Perth shaping as the match's likely venue.

The All Blacks are scheduled to play the Springboks twice in the Rugby Championship, with the first meeting in Dunedin on September 25 the 100th Test in a rivalry dating back to 1921.

New Zealand's strict Covid-19 border controls have already led to two championship Tests against Argentina being moved to Australia and NZR chief Mark Robinson said the South Africa matches could also be shifted.

"We'd dearly love for those two games against the Springboks to be played here in New Zealand," he told Sky Sports NZ late Monday.

"We all recognise the significance of those games and the huge amount of importance they have on the legacy of the rivalry," he added.

"We're doing everything possible to make that happen and we haven't given up all hope, but the reality is we're living in challenging times."

The All Blacks-Argentina matches will be played on September 11 and 18, and the Springboks games on September 25 and October 2.

The first South Africa match is scheduled to take place in Dunedin and the second at Auckland's Eden Park.

Robinson said Perth was the preferred venue if the All Blacks had to play all four of their remaining Championship matches in Australia.

From there, they would head to Washington to play the United States, followed by a European tour including Tests against France and Ireland.