New Zealand get an­other help­ing hand from the sched­ulers

The Rugby Paper - - Aviva Premiership -

are SANZAAR go­ing to pep up their ail­ing tour­na­ment by bring­ing a lit­tle even hand­ed­ness to the com­pe­ti­tion? The sched­ule for this year’s tour­na­ment was re­leased ear­lier this week and yet again peren­nial win­ners New Zealand have been granted the ideal sce­nario with three of their first four games at home.

As per usual they face a short hop over the Tas­man to meet Aus­tralia be­fore three homes games on the trot, against the Aussies again, Ar­gentina and then South Africa. By the time the teams go into the Round 5 – when the tour­na­ment could al­ready be over – the Ki­wis will have spent less than six hours in the air.

Con­trast that with Ar­gentina who will have al­ready com­pleted one re­turn trip to Dur­ban and then, af­ter a home match against the South Africans in Men­doza, a jour­ney to Nel­son to play New Zealand fol­lowed by more trav­el­ling to Bris­bane to play Aus­tralia. I make that a min­i­mum of 60 hours in the air.

The sit­u­a­tion for South Africa is lit­tle bet­ter and this is clearly some­thing SANZAAR need to get to grips with.

There is no rea­son why ev­ery other sea­son New Zealand and Aus­tralia should not have their sched­ule loaded so they are re­quired to do most of their trav­el­ling at the front end of the tour­na­ment.

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