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Aug 22 - New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson has refuted claims Rugby Australia was not consulted before the All Blacks pulled out of the now-cancelled Bledisloe Cup clash with the Wallabies.
The All Blacks had been due to travel to Perth for next Saturday's third match in the Bledisloe Cup after winning the opening two encounters at Auckland's Eden Park, only to withdraw citing COVID-19 restrictions.
The move has sparked a war of words between the two organisations, with RA chief executive Andy Marinos claiming the Australians had been blindsided by NZR's "unilateral" decision.
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie, meanwhile, said his players had learned about the cancellation via social media.
Robinson said that was not true.
"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 on Saturday.
"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 and some of the people he's referring to."
The decision, which also caused the cancellation of the All Blacks' home matches in The Rugby Championship against South Africa, infuriated Rennie.
"I just feel there is only one of us who are interested in doing what's best for the game," Rennie said on Friday.
"It tells you more about them than us ... We've all made sacrifices to ensure that games are played for the financial benefit of the game."
Robinson said NZR had sought to work with the Australians over a late attempt to shift the game to Brisbane, but stressed NZR still planned to play the third Bledisloe Cup game.
Queensland remains a possible venue for the rescheduled Bledisloe Cup match as well as the remaining Rugby Championship games, along with Europe and South Africa.
"We tried to give Rugby Australia as much time as possible, until Friday afternoon, to have quarantine tidied up with Queensland," Robinson said.
"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. REUTERS