Bledisloe Cup 2020: Rugby Australia, New Zealand Rugby relationship at its ‘lowest ebb’: Hamish McLennan

“On numerous occasions, for the record, going back to August 27, we at RA said we would be prepared to entertain a five-week competition but that was knocked on the head by New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina,” McLennan said.

Australia then voted with New Zealand to play six matches in five weeks at a September 17 meeting.

Michael Hooper's Wallabies renew hostilities with the All Blacks on October 11.

Michael Hooper’s Wallabies renew hostilities with the All Blacks on October 11.Credit:Getty

That was also knocked on the head by South Africa and Argentina, leaving the trans-Tasman nations with little choice but to agree to the current competition format.

NZR says it never agreed to the six-week format but McLennan has board minutes which prove otherwise.

“I’ve seen board minutes from September 17 where the six-week competition was signed off,” McLennan said.

“There’s a lot of he said, she said. It’s a bit messy, I have to say.”

The “messy” nature of the disagreement has seen the relationship deteriorate rapidly.

“There is respect there but the relationship is at probably the lowest ebb it’s ever been at,” McLennan said.

“But I’m trying my hardest to fix that over time.”

Fixing the relationship may be aided by lobbying South Africa and Argentina to agree to a schedule change.

The other option is to move either the third or fourth Bledisloe Cup Test.

The Wallabies will face the All Blacks in New Zealand on October 11 and 18 before returning to Australia to prepare for The Rugby Championship.

The two weeks in between the October 18 Test will likely be spent in isolation from the general public, making it almost impossible to play a match prior to the November 7 TRC start date.

That leaves the possibility of playing the final Bledisloe three or four days after the December 5 match.


Sources have told the Herald SANZAAR sold the revised TRC to broadcasters on the basis that there would be six consecutive double header Saturdays.

Any change to the current schedule would force SANZAAR back to the negotiation table with broadcasters and put millions in much-needed revenue at risk, a risk the governing body do not currently want to take.

If all four countries can’t come to an agreement, the All Blacks have not ruled out walking away from the December 12 Bledisloe at ANZ Stadium.

“I’d be really concerned about a boycott. I think it would be a tragedy for the TRC and the game,” McLennan said.

“It’s 10 weeks away. The restrictions are unwinding a little bit here. The NSW government has done a great job with contact tracing and we’ve had two days in a row where we’ve had no new cases.

“I think we all just need to take a deep breath and stand back a little bit.”

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Shaw at a loss as North reach lowest ebb

“It wasn’t good enough,” Shaw said after the game.

“It’s not an acceptable performance,” adding that there were no positives to be taken.

“Gold Coast were exceptional tonight. They worked hard, they were really well-drilled, they executed, and we didn’t.”

Asked about his post-match message to his team, Shaw said that how the Kangaroos responded against ladder-leaders Port Adelaide on Saturday night at Metricon Stadium would be telling.

North Melbourne coach Rhyce Shaw said it was not an acceptable performance.

North Melbourne coach Rhyce Shaw said it was not an acceptable performance.Credit:Getty Images

“It’s probably bigger than that, I reckon. I think the only thing that can happen now is what the response is. That’s essentially where it sits. I’m a bit at a loss really. I think this week’s going to show a lot and tell us a lot.

“I’m not going to talk about individuals. It’s not about that. It’s about us as a collective and what that response is going to be next week, and how that looks.

“[Our members] would be really disappointed with tonight and I really feel for them, our fans and our members, and our club as a whole, because it wasn’t good enough.

“It’s a tough competition, you’ve got to rock up every week and perform and if you don’t, you’ll get found out.”

Shaw said North may regain some players for the Port clash but didn’t specify individuals.

Meanwhile Suns coach Stuart Dew was pleased with the way his side snapped a six-match winless run.

“We’ve been working towards a game like this. A lot of things to like,” he said.

“Goalkicking was an issue and finishing. We did really want to play with speed and take the game on, and willing to live with it if some mistakes came from that. We wanted to keep promoting that risk element.”

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