Despite some COVID-19 shaped hiccups, the Bledisloe Cup is set to go ahead for 2021 meaning the rugby squads for both Australia and New Zealand will have their shot at the trophy in the coming weeks.
If you’re keen to catch all the action in this space, here’s everything you need to know about the 2021 Bledisloe Cup and the much-anticipated games that are on the way.
What’s the Bledisloe Cup?
For the uninitiated, the Bledisloe Cup is a rugby union competition that runs annually between the national teams of Australia (Wallabies) and New Zealand (All Blacks). The event has been running since the 1930s and attracts a heap of attention every year – despite the fact that New Zealand mostly takes home the title.
Is the Bledisloe Cup going ahead in 2021?
There have been some issues presented this year in that New Zealand has paused the travel bubble between the two countries following the growing COVID-19 outbreak in Australia. The first match in the comp is set for Eden Park in Auckland.
However, it has been confirmed that New Zealand has issued an exemption for Wallabies rugby players, allowing them to enter the country due to the economic value of the 2021 Bledisloe Cup competition.
As The Guardian shares, Grant Robertson, deputy prime minister and minister for sport and recreation, gave a statement on this update:
“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 [the] trans-Tasman travel was suspended.”
In the most recent update on the event, Rugby Australia has confirmed the first two matches will be played in New Zealand, with the third set for Perth, WA.
RA CEO Andy Marinos said in a statement that:
“It’s never an easy decision to adjust a schedule and firstly, I want to thank the Western Australian Government for their support and understanding as we continued to overcome hurdles.
“The recent trans-Tasman bubble closure, New Zealand health orders and State border closures and lockdowns, have forced us to make number of changes but we’re incredibly excited about the schedule ahead.”
When and where are the matches being held?
The first test for the 2021 Bledisloe Cup is set for Saturday, August 7 at 5:05 pm at Eden Park, Auckland.
The second test was initially slated for Saturday, August 21 at Optus Stadium, Perth. However, COVID-19 has put a spanner in that. This match will now be played Saturday, August 14 at Eden Park, Auckland at 5.05 pm AEST.
And the third test is set to take place on Saturday, August 28 at Optus Stadium, Perth at 6.00 pm AWST.
Where can I watch the competition live?
You can catch the 2021 Bledisloe Cup on Nine, with Stan Sport streaming all matches ad-free, live and on-demand.
Stan members can add Stan Sport access for $10 per month. More on what the service offers is available here.
This article has been updated since its original publish date.