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Black Ferns schedule wiped out

The reigning world champions New Zealand will not play a test game in 2020, it was confirmed overnight, with the proposed series with Australia not going ahead, replaced instead with a national trial game and then two matches against an invitational side in November.

The reigning world champions New Zealand will not play a test game in 2020, it was confirmed overnight, with the proposed series with Australia not going ahead, replaced instead with a national trial game and then two matches against an invitational side in November.

The Black Ferns played six tests last year, but their most recent match was in August 2019, a 37-8 victory over Australia.

An ambitious schedule had been announced with New Zealand due to play eight tests leading into the World Cup wihch they will host next year. The two test series with Australia was due to be played in August but was cancelled due to Covid and no agreement could be reached to get the tests on later this year. 

Cate Sexton, New Zealand Rugby’s head of women’s rugby, said they ran out of options once Australia’s Wallaroos chose not to get their team together this year. 

“We did everything we could to make it happen,” Sexton told local news website Stuff. “Our board and the Government were right behind it, but it's not only about us, we need opposition to play.

“A lack of rugby preparation and the uncertainties of quarantines have a massive impact on any opposition.”

Sexton said the union hoped to stage tests for the reigning world champions as soon as April or May next year..

“Playing the Wallaroos was on the table most recently,” she said, “but they're only just finishing club rugby, and they still need to quarantine between states, so they’ve chosen not to assemble a team this year.

“It was a tough decision for them and the players ahead of the World Cup, but it was just too difficult.”

The news comes despite confirmatoin that the All Blacks will host the Wallabies in two Bledisloe Cup tests next month, with a men’s Rugby Championship with Argentina, Australia and South Africa also tentatively scheduled to start in Australia in November