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Wallabies get green light to enter New Zealand for Bledisloe Tests

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Australia’s Filipo Daugunu runs with the ball during a captain’s run at the Sanctuary Cove Golf and Country Club Rugby Field in Gold Coast on July 16. AFP

Wallabies get green light to enter New Zealand for Bledisloe Tests

Australia’s rugby team on Tuesday was given the green light to enter New Zealand, allowing the upcoming Bledisloe Cup Tests against the All Blacks to go ahead.

The first of the three Tests is set for August 7 but the series was thrown into doubt last week when New Zealand closed the quarantine-free travel bubble with Australia, which is wrestling with a Covid-19 outbreak.

However, New Zealand Sports Minister Grant Robertson said the Wallabies had been granted entry under a clause allowing exemptions for events that have a significant economic impact.

“This is important economically,” Robertson said, putting a NZ$17-20 million ($12-14 million) value on All Blacks Tests.

“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.”

“The Wallabies have been operating in their own bubble for some time, and will travel from their base in Queensland on a charter flight to Auckland on Friday morning,” he added.

“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.”

The exemption means the first Bledisloe Test will take place as scheduled. However, negotiations are continuing between rugby authorities in New Zealand and Australia over the remaining two matches which are set to be played in Perth and Wellington.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has indicated that rather than criss-cross the Tasman, the Wellington Test may be played second and both teams will then travel to Perth.

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