Wallabies faced with possibility of four-match Bledisloe Cup series to be held in New Zealand

Interim Rugby Australia chief executive Rob Clarke hasn’t ruled out the possibility of Bledisloe Cup matches being held on both sides of the Tasman.

He has, however, conceded there is a chance the Wallabies may have to try and snatch the coveted silverware off the All Blacks for the first time since 2003 while playing solely in New Zealand.

A four-match series is expected to be played between the two sides between October and November, with both nations pencilled in to host two matches apiece.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the first of the two clashes to be held in Australia would take place on October 10 in either Sydney or Perth, while the second would be held on October 17 in Brisbane.

Although he was optimistic about playing those matches in front of live crowds, Clarke revealed there is a “temptation” to move all four games to New Zealand where that aspect of fan attendance would be guaranteed.

Entering its final round of the season, Super Rugby Aotearoa has been played largely in front of bumper crowds across New Zealand.

Super Rugby AU, meanwhile, has taken place in front of restricted crowds as Australia grapples with a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

The economic toll that has come with the coronavirus pandemic means financial income of any means is of paramount importance.

With ticket revenue a significant source of income, the prospect of splitting ticket sales and hosting the series entirely in New Zealand, where all four games would likely sell-out, stands as a lucrative option.

“Ideally you would want [games] in Australia to reward your fans so they could come and watch the game and, certainly from a commercial point of view, we have many corporate supporters and we’d want to reward them as well,” Clarke said on Monday.

“We’re working with various governments to see what the potential crowds might be and what limitations might be placed on match-day crowds. That will have an influence on at least where one of the games might be played.

“If everything turned negative, then yes, one of the scenarios could be that we play those two Bledisloes in New Zealand and capitalise on the opportunities they present. That has been factored into our thinking but certainly isn’t our preference.”

New Zealand is already set to host the entire Rugby Championship between November and December, with their two home Bledisloe Cup clashes expected to be held during the opening fortnight of that competition.