The Bledisloe Cup will return to Perth for the first time since 2019 where the Wallabies stunned the All Blacks 47-26, as SANZAAR confirm the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship fixtures for 2021.
The return of the Bledisloe to Western Australia will give the region a boost following the successful return of the Western Force to Super Rugby AU in 2020. The fixture in August will be the second Bledisloe match ever played in Perth with their first clash in 2019 breaking a crowd record at Optus stadium that is still held today.
To kick off the trans-Tasman campaign the All Blacks will host the Wallabies at Eden Park on Saturday August 7 - a well-known graveyard for the Wallabies -- for the opening match, followed by the Wallabies hosting New Zealand on Saturday 21 August before they return to Wellington for the final Bledisloe clash on Saturday 28 August.
The four team Rugby Championship will then follow, with the Springboks making their return to the competition after they were unable to compete in last year's tournament, instead a successful three team Tri Nations which featured the Wallabies, All Blacks and Argentina's Pumas was played out.
This year the tournament will be held across three nations in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, with the Springboks to host two matches against Argentina before the Wallabies and All Blacks host five matches each.
The Wallabies will open their Rugby Championship campaign with a home-and-away series against New Zealand before they play four straight home Tests against South Africa and Argentina respectively. The All Blacks will host the reverse fixtures.
Announcing the fixtures SANZAAR CEO Brendan Morris said the national unions had worked hard to create a new mini-tour schedule, however due to the continuing issues presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, they had to revert to a 12-match tournament played across three nations.
"We have worked tirelessly with the national unions through the continued difficulties associated with the pandemic," Morris said. "This includes ongoing international border travel restrictions, quarantine protocols and player welfare concerns.
"Nonetheless, the exciting news is that we do welcome back South Africa to The Rugby Championship after a difficult 2020 when the pandemic made it impossible for them to participate."
Argentina will again be on the road for the whole of the tournament after they spent months away from their families to compete in last year's Tri Nations. Despite this they left Australia with a famous victory over the All Blacks and two draws against the Wallabies.
After not playing a Test at all in 2020, the Springboks will prepare for the Rugby Championships with the three match tour of the British & Irish Lions. While Australia will host France, the All Blacks will play Tonga and Fiji in two Tests and the Pumas will play two Tests against reigning Six Nations Champions Wales.
Rugby Championship/Bledisloe Cup schedule:
Saturday 7 August: New Zealand v Wallabies, Eden Park, Auckland
Saturday 14 August: South Africa vs. Argentina, South Africa
Saturday 21 August: Argentina vs. South Africa, South Africa
Australia vs. New Zealand, Optus Stadium, Perth
Saturday 28 August: New Zealand vs. Australia, Sky Stadium, Wellington
Saturday 11 September: New Zealand vs. Argentina, Eden Park, Auckland
South Africa vs. Australia, Australia
Saturday 18 September: Argentina vs. New Zealand, Sky Stadium, Wellington
Australia vs. South Africa, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Saturday 25 September: New Zealand vs. South Africa, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Australia vs. Argentina, Australia
Saturday 2 October: South Africa vs. New Zealand, Eden Park, Auckland
Argentina vs. Australia, Australia