The South African press reported today that the New Zealand rugby team, “The First Blacks”, had rejected an offer to confront world champion South Africa, in a test match that was to be hosted by Dubai.
According to Daily Maverick from South Africa, the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZR) was about to strike a deal to face Springbooks in preparation for the series’ World Champions against British & Irish Lions (chosen from the best rugby players in the US Kingdom) which begins on July 24.
The newspaper indicated that NZR turned down the offer due to mandatory 14-day quarantine requirements upon returning to New Zealand, which could jeopardize its schedule in the July window.
The All Blacks will host Fiji for two tests, but are still looking for competitors at their meeting on July 3, after Italy decided not to travel to New Zealand, with Samoa and Tonga emerging as potential candidates for that match, which will be played in Hamilton or Auckland.
The All Blacks have not faced South Africa since their debut at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, with their 23-13 win in Yokohama.
Japan, led by New Zealander Jimmy Joseph, also rejected a match against Springboks in Dubai, sharing the same concerns about travel requirements for COVID-19.
Instead, Springboks will host Georgia in a Test Series that will take place on July 3-10, prior to their initial test against Lions in Johannesburg. (Telam)