Ben Stokes finally got to see his seriously ill dad, Ged, on Monday.
After two weeks of quarantine in an Auckland hotel, the 29-year-old cricketer – an occasional England captain and almost certainly the best allrounder in the world, a man who was born in Christchurch and carries a New Zealand passport, could finally embrace his father, who has brain cancer.
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Ben, a married father of two, likes to be active – that's not surprising as he's a professional athlete. But he had to pass the time alone with nothing more than a skipping rope and strictly monitored (and limited) time outdoors behind a fence. He would have done it tough, but he's a tough bloke (a bit like his dad, a Canterbury rugby league identity) and understood the need for it.
And his case isn't unusual. Hundreds are in the same position as Ben. Some, who have returned to New Zealand from overseas to see an ailing relative, are too late to say their final goodbyes. This pandemic really is a sad, wretched business.
Which is why anyone describing the possibility of Australia hosting the Rugby Championship this year rather than New Zealand, which had appeared to be in the lead due to our relative success in avoiding the worst of Covid-19 as a "failure" on the part of New Zealand Rugby or New Zealand Government, are rather missing the point.
Should the tournament be held across the Tasman due to better quarantine/training facilities/a more relaxed attitude from the Australian Government, or whatever, no one should see it as any sort of failure. It would be a disappointment, sure, but nothing more than that.
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Let's not conflate the issue with the Aussies pinching the 2003 World Cup from New Zealand because that was a huge failure and it was caused by New Zealand Rugby's arrogance and hubris, an attitude that they were bigger than the game, or World Rugby's requirement of non-approved-advertising-free stadiums, anyway.
Thankfully, there are more progressive people in charge of our national game now and the reality is it's mostly out of their control anyway. And one only has to look at the United States to see how arrogance and hubris can pose a significant risk to human life during a pandemic.
As it stands, Australia appear set to play at least one Bledisloe Cup test on New Zealand soil this year, and the reluctance on the part of the Government to give the green light to Argentina and South Africa touring at the same time is understandable given the circumstances. Six of the Pumas squad have tested positive to the coronavirus and are in isolation.
Australia as a nation recorded 93 new cases over the last 24 hours – 76 of those in Victoria which has been hit harder than any other state.
Australia is also currently home to the New Zealand Warriors, while the Wellington Phoenix recently returned from a two-month stint in Sydney and are now home with their families after being isolated in a Wellington hotel for two weeks.
If the Australian Government and rugby union are happy to wear the risks involved in allowing three international rugby teams and their armies of support staff to train every day in a sort of quarantine-lite in the midst of this pandemic, then fair enough.
And if the New Zealand Government say no, then fair enough too. The reasons for it would be perfectly obvious. Any lessening of standards for the sake of a few rugby tests would be an insult to Ben Stokes and his family and all those Kiwis in the same position.