Wallabies confirmed to be based in Christchurch ahead of Bledisloe I

The Wallabies will quarantine at a four-star hotel in Christchurch ahead of the first Bledisloe Cup test in Wellington.

The Chateau on the Park, which overlooks Hagley Park near the central city, will be used as the Wallabies’ base as they prepare for the test against the All Blacks at Sky Stadium on October 11.

A spokesperson for Chateau on the Park confirmed the Wallabies would stay at the picturesque venue. The squad is expected to arrive this week, possibly Friday.

It’s also understood the squad will train at the Linwood club, of which All Blacks first five-eighth Richie Mo’unga is a member, about 8km away from the Chateau on the Park.

During visits to the city the All Blacks have trained at the Linwood club. It is relatively secluded, with the high fences offering privacy, and the fields are often in excellent order.

The Wallabies, who will be coached by New Zealander Dave Rennie after Michael Cheika stepped down following the World Cup in Japan last year, will be required to go through a 14-day isolation period like every other new arrival into the country.

Last week Sports Minister Grant Robertson stated the arrangement would be for the Wallabies to travel to a dedicated training facility that would only be used by them.

He said there would be similar security and health and safety arrangements at the venue, and for transport.

The Wallabies won’t be permitted to train until day three, when everyone will be required to take a test for Covid-19.

If all members of the tour party test negative, the full squad will be allowed to start training. They can train together from day six.

More tests will be done during their stay and if anyone tests positive that will be the end of the Bledisloe Cup tests in New Zealand.

The second test is scheduled to be played in Auckland on October 18, although if the city remains under alert level 2 NZ Rugby will relocate the game to Dunedin which, like the majority of the country, is operating under alert level 1.

Two Bledisloe Cup tests will also be staged in Australia and double as Rugby Championship fixtures. The dates, and venues, are expected to be confirmed after Sanzaar stakeholders meet this week.

The quarantine rules for the Wallabies were relaxed after Rennie complained about the lack of preparation time, and suggested the tests be relocated to Australia.

Given New Zealand had already lost the Rugby Championship hosting rights to Australia because of its inflexible quarantine protocols, that would have meant no tests played in this country in 2020.

NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern quickly revealed Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield would allow the Wallabies to train together while in quarantine.

The All Blacks are currently in camp in Whakatāne. Next week they will be based in Hamilton.