Bledisloe Cup: Auckland's Eden Park confirmed to host first two Tests

The Wallabies now face an even tougher task in their quest to regain the Bledisloe Cup for the first time in 18 years, with Auckland's Eden Park confirmed to host the first two Tests of the series.

Given the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia and the presence of the Beervana festival in Wellington next week, New Zealand Rugby has rerouted the second Test to Auckland for Aug. 14. Saturday's opener was already slated for Eden Park.

It means the third Test, which was originally due to be staged in the New Zealand capital on Aug. 28, will now shift to Perth's Optus Stadium, which had originally been scheduled to host the second Test on Aug. 21.

"It is particularly disappointing we will not be able to play in Wellington this season and we share the disappointment of fans, the venue and the city, but at short notice following the closure of the travel bubble with Australia it just proved too difficult," NZR boss Mark Robinson said.

The change of fixtures means the Wallabies must now end their 35-year hoodoo at Eden Park if they're to be any chance of setting up a series decider in Perth.

"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," Rugby Australia boss Andy Marinos said.

"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.

"It is good news for rugby fans in Western Australia with the Test set for Saturday 28 August. For any fan that had a ticket for the original date - please rest assured, you will be automatically transferred to the new date. If you now can't make it though, you will be offered the opportunity for a full refund.

"We can't wait for the team to run out at Optus Stadium and see another full house cheer on the Wallabies."

Meanwhile, SANZAAR has confirmed that New Zealand's two Rugby Championship Tests against Argentina will now be staged in Australia.

New Zealand had been set to the two Test matches against the Pumas on Sept. 12 & 18 but the closing of the trans-Tasman travel bubble has now seen those matches, at least, shifted to Australia.

SANZAAR says it will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in Australia with further changes to the schedule be advised if required.

"We now turn our attention to the remaining eight scheduled matches," SANZAAR chief executive Brendan Morris said in confirming changes to the Rugby Championship draw. "We continue to monitor the pandemic and government and health authority regulations, and are currently working through several options for these matches if any changes are required, including the New Zealand versus Argentina matches.

"SANZAAR would like to thank its member national unions and the government agencies it has been working with for their assistance and flexibility so far, and we look forward to confirming the venues and dates for the remaining matches in the near future."

Revised Rugby Championship schedule

Sat 14 August: New Zealand v Australia at Eden Park, Auckland

Sat 14 August: South Africa v Argentina at Nelson Mandela Stadium, Port Elizabeth

Sat 21 August: Argentina v South Africa at Nelson Mandela Stadium, Port Elizabeth

Sat 28 August: Australia v New Zealand* at Optus Stadium, Perth

TBC: New Zealand v Argentina [to be played in Australia]

**South Africa vs. Australia [scheduled 12 Sept, SCG, Sydney]

**Australia vs. South Africa [scheduled 18 Sept, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane]

TBC: Argentina vs. New Zealand [to be played in Australia]

**New Zealand vs. South Africa [scheduled 25 Sept, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin]

**Australia vs. Argentina [scheduled 25 Sept, McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle]

**South Africa vs. New Zealand [scheduled 2 October, Eden Park, Auckland]

**Argentina vs. Australia [scheduled 2 October, GIO Stadium, Canberra]

(** schedule subject to change due to government/health authority pandemic regulations; TBC - to be confirmed)