Brisbane, Australia, The four-nation Rugby Championship will conclude with eight games being held in the Australian state of Queensland because of various new COVID-19 travel and quarantine restrictions prompted by the spread of the delta variant, tournament organizer SANZAAR said Tuesday.

The southern hemisphere rugby governing body and Rugby Australia said that four doubleheaders involving Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina will be played in the Queensland cities of Gold Coast, Townsville and Brisbane in September and early October.

That followed an announcement last week by New Zealand that it would not be able to host South Africa for two tests between the top two teams in the world because of a new lockdown.

As well as the eight games set to be held in Queensland, there is still one match left in the second round. New Zealand had put a trip by its team to play Australia in Perth this coming Saturday on hold until new plans were made for the tournament.

Rugby Australia will confirm the date of that rescheduled Bledisloe Cup fixture — which also acts as a second-round game in the Rugby Championship — in the next few days, it said. It will remain in Perth. New Zealand has already clinched the Bledisloe Cup for the 19th consecutive year with wins in the first two games at Auckland’s Eden Park.

Games moved to Queensland included matches meant to be played in Auckland and Dunedin in New Zealand, and Sydney, Newcastle and Canberra in Australia.

Three matches have been played in the Rugby Championship so far, where New Zealand beat Australia in Auckland and South Africa beat Argentina twice in the South African city of Gqeberha, formerly Port Elizabeth.

South Africa was due to play two games in Australia and two in New Zealand while Argentina also still has two games against the Wallabies and two against the All Blacks.

The Springboks and Pumas squads were both stranded in South Africa after their second match this weekend while waiting for word on where the tournament would be completed.

They will now travel to Australia together on Thursday and arrive in Queensland on Friday, the South African rugby body said. South Africa and Argentina players and officials will have to quarantine for two weeks but will then “operate normally in Australia with no restrictions being placed on their movements,” SA Rugby said.

The first matches in Queensland are on 12 September 2021, the Associated Press (AP) news reported.

Source: Oman News Agency