New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson has refuted accusations from the Wallabies camp that they were blindsided by the All Blacks' decision to pull out of Bledisloe III, and labelled statements suggesting NZR hadn't consulted Rugby Australia before making their announcement "simply not true".
Robinson said that senior Wallabies were aware of New Zealand Rugby's (NZR) plans not to fly to Perth for the match.
"We had calls right through from Wednesday, Thursday, we put something in writing on Thursday and then we spoke to them before anything was released," Robinson told Newstalk ZB.
"Certainly I know that senior All Blacks and Wallabies were discussing the situation and our players were making them aware of the reality of our situation. It's a shame that couldn't get back to Dave [Rennie] and some of the people he's referring to."
On Saturday Robinson said New Zealand would be open to playing the third Bledisloe match on September 4 in Perth, but fell short of committing to the date and location until there were reassurances about plans for the Rugby Championship.
Rugby Australia said it was caught unaware by a New Zealand press release on Friday announcing the team, having just wrapped up the Bledisloe Cup series after Australia reluctantly agreed to play two tests at Eden Park, would not come to Perth for a third match on August 28.
The move infuriated RA chief executive Andy Marinos, as well as Wallabies coach Dave Rennie, who said he was "bloody angry".
"It's disappointing how it's been communicated. Our boys all found out through social media. I'm not sure shocked is the right word, because I'm not surprised," Rennie said.
"I just feel there's only one of us who are interested in doing what's best for the game."
With the destination of the Rugby Championship yet to be determined, and the All Blacks facing up to four months away from home with their European tour in November, NZ Rugby opted to delay the team's departure until that uncertainty is resolved.
But Rugby Union Players Association boss Justin Harrison believes "tactics and agenda" were behind the All Blacks' decision to pull out of Bledisloe III. Harrison said ongoing uncertainty for a Wallabies group that could spend five months away from families could take its toll. He also questioned New Zealand rugby's motives, before a decision on the Bledisloe clash and Rugby Championship early next week.
"There is a point in time where we just want a partnership approach and honesty to be the intent, rather than tactics and agenda," Harrison told the Sydney Morning Herald. "That is the disappointing aspect of what appears to be happening in New Zealand's case.
"We are concentrating on supporting players and staff. We are disappointed with the decisions by New Zealand. We are maintaining frequent dialogue with the Wallaby group and Rugby Australia to make sure we develop solutions to best support and plan multiple scenarios inside a fast-moving landscape.
"The goal is to take as much uncertainty out of things as possible and make sure we give accurate information to players, staff, family and partners."
Marinos and Rennie slammed NZR for a lack of consultation, with the Wallabies coach saying: "New Zealand Rugby didn't even have the respect to consult RA about their decision and that's hugely disappointing."
Robinson said that was "simply not true".
"We tried to give Rugby Australia as much time as possible, until Friday afternoon, to have quarantine tidied up with Queensland," Robinson told Newstalk ZB on Saturday. "That was unable to be achieved and, therefore, we weren't really able to get on a plane.
"We understand that Rugby Australia are under severe financial pressure. This is an important game for them and we are committed to playing that match. The reality is, under those circumstances, that frustration manifests with what we saw yesterday; a lot of emotion, a lot of frustration, sometimes possibly not all the information, and that's the result of that."
Meanwhile, a South African columnist has called for the All Blacks to be withdrawn from the Rugby Championship following their decision not travel to Perth.
Writing for keo.co.za, South African columnist Mark Keohane went one step further and called for the All Blacks to either forfeit points for missing next weekend's match or be booted from the Rugby Championship.
"If the All Blacks can't make their games, then they should forfeit the points or they should withdraw from the tournament and allow Australia, South Africa and Argentina to get on with it," Keohane wrote.
"It really is time to end a partnership that has never been on equal terms. South African rugby's days with Sanzaar should not extend the 2023 Rugby World Cup. It is time to move on from New Zealand and Australia.
"It should be a case of 'see you at the World Cup' when it comes to the Springboks playing the All Blacks and Australia.
"Alternatively, see you in the United States for a commercially motivated exhibition game.
"Or if the All Blacks want to play the Springboks, then it becomes part of the end of year tour, with the Springboks aligned to the northern hemisphere."
Keohane's column comes after the Springboks withdrew from last year's edition of the Rugby Championship, citing player welfare concerns surrounding international travel and border restrictions amid the global pandemic.
Without them, the All Blacks, Wallabies and Los Pumas played a makeshift Tri Nations tournament staged entirely in Australia.