NZ teams to stay put despite travel bubble

The Warriors will continue to train on the Central Coast and plan to return to Auckland on June 21.
The Warriors will continue to train on the Central Coast and plan to return to Auckland on June 21.

New Zealand sporting teams won't rush home from their temporary Australian bases but say confirmation of a travel bubble between the countries allows them to dream of their next game in front of home fans.

The New Zealand Government announced on Tuesday quarantine-free, trans-Tasman travel will be allowed from April 19.

The NRL's Warriors and A-League's Wellington Phoenix will remain in Australia but plan to host games later this season, while the bubble is also promising for the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman tournament due to begin on May 14.

The Warriors are based in Terrigal on the NSW Central Coast and plan to return to Auckland on June 21 ahead of their first game on July 2.

The Wollongong-based Phoenix will remain there for the rest of the A-League season.

While their schedule is set until mid May, they are hopeful of playing two of their last four games beyond that in New Zealand.

The NBL's Breakers have also shifted between Melbourne and Hobart since December and are set to play home games in Launceston later this month.

They are now hopeful of also playing in New Zealand at the back end of the season.

"It's incredibly exciting for us to have some dates set in stone; it's something we knew was coming for a long time but seems to have taken forever," Breakers veteran Tom Abercrombie said.

"We've been away since early December and feels like we've been absolutely everywhere except home.

"It's extremely exciting; I don't like to get too far ahead of myself but it looks like things are on the up ... to have some certainty now it gives us a little pep in our step."

Rugby Australia will also hope the bubble remains open throughout May and June to ensure their five-week home-and-away tournament against New Zealand's Super Rugby outfits can go ahead.

Both countries are currently playing separate five-team domestic tournaments, with the combined competition to give the code a timely shot of momentum ahead of France's visit and a potential Rugby Championship on home soil later this year.

Australian Associated Press