Sanzaar has announced that it plans to hold the entire 2020 Rugby Championship this year in New Zealand.
Sanzaar chief executive Andy Marinos revealed today that the governing body is seeking Government approval to play the entire tournament – featuring the All Blacks, Australia, South Africa and Argentina – in New Zealand.
"Having successfully restarted Super Rugby this year in Australia and New Zealand our focus is now on the Rugby Championship that is set to be played in one central location," Marinos said in a statement.
"We have determined that New Zealand is currently the favoured option given the Covid stability within the region. Critical to this, however, is alignment with the New Zealand Government around its requirements for this to take place.
"Sanzaar is well advanced in option planning with New Zealand Rugby, which in turn, is now seeking New Zealand Government approval."
Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson said the Government is keen to work with New Zealand Rugby and Sanzaar to see if the tournament can be safely held in New Zealand.
"We are open to the idea of hosting these international games here, but of course we will need to ensure they can be held safely and we have the appropriate facilities available so that players can isolate and train upon entry to New Zealand," Robertson said.
"Discussions are underway about this in the context of the Government's wider border and isolation management strategy.
"These kinds of economics opportunities are what we expect given the advantage New Zealand has because of the Government's decision to go hard and early in the response to Covid-19."
Due to current border restrictions, exemptions would be required for the Australian, South African and Argentinean teams to enter the country.
A North v South match, which works essentially as an All Blacks trial, is scheduled for August 29 at Eden Park in Auckland, two weeks after the conclusion of Super Rugby Aotearoa.
Marinos said further details about the 2020 Rugby Championship will be announced in the near future.
Sanzaar also made it clear, contrary to media reports, that it wasn't being dismantled as uncertainty around the future of Super Rugby made headlines this month.
"Due to the ongoing uncertainty over international travel for 2021 and beyond the member unions are also working on solutions past this year that will excite fans, broadcasters and deliver high-performance outcomes for the Unions," Marinos said.
"The member unions remain committed to the long-term future as a joint venture. We all recognise the current challenges we face in trying to settle on any potential Super Rugby competition structures moving forward under the pandemic environment.
"However, the restructuring of Super Rugby through reformatted competitions does not mean the dismantling of Sanzaar."