Brad Thorn says the Queensland Reds are willing to become the Queenstown Reds to ensure they play New Zealand sides later this year.
But that sort of commitment may not be necessary as the likelihood of a trans-Tasman bubble improves.
Australia’s five Super Rugby outfits are scheduled to play New Zealand’s in a six-week trans-Tasman competition from May 14, once domestic champions are crowned in both countries.
The delay of a proposed quarantine-free travel bubble because of new COVID-19 outbreaks on both sides of the Tasman put that concept in doubt, however there are fresh reports it could be installed by mid-April and announced within a week.
Without a quarantine-free bubble teams would likely be asked to relocate to one hub city for the entirety of the tournament, with the foreign sides then subjected to a 14-day quarantine on return.
That would cause disruptions to the All Blacks and Wallabies’ Test preparations but Rugby Australia say all options remain on the table and former All Black Thorn is willing to do anything to make the trans-Tasman competition happen.
“It’s super positive to hear, it’s fantastic and for me it’s not like ‘if it happens’ – it has to happen,” he said.
“Just make it happen … (if it has to be) in a bubble, wherever that is … we can be the Queenstown Reds for five weeks, 40 minutes from where I grew up on the hills of the Southern Alps.
“There’s good footy going on in Australia and New Zealand; it’s important that that happens and supporters will enjoy it.
“The biggest thing will be buying a big basket of flowers for my wife, but knowing my wife and kids they’ll try and sneak into the bubble as well.”
The Reds (3-0) have emerged as Australia’s form outfit after coming from behind to beat the Brumbies (3-1) in a rollicking 40-38 shootout in Canberra on Saturday.
They return home to play the Western Force (1-2) this Saturday.
“Hopefully it’s a really good contest again,” Thorn said.
“We’ve had a lot of good feedback around that on what both sides brought so we’ll be looking for more of that.
“They have a lot of experience; (Irish fullback) Rob Kearney I played with at Leinster and (All Blacks winger) Richard Kahui I played with … proud men, lot of experience and they’ll be coming to get the job done.”