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World Rugby paves the way for November tournaments in both hemispheres

The Rugby Championship will be held entirely in New Zealand while ‘invited teams’ will join the current Six Nations teams if a motion passes at next week’s council meeting.

Joey Carbery on the attack when Ireland hosted Italy last August.
Joey Carbery on the attack when Ireland hosted Italy last August.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

WORLD RUGBY HAS paved the way for the proposed autumn schedules by officially recommending a temporary Test window to run from 24 October to 5 December in the northern hemisphere.

The window will run to 12 December to accommodate the southern hemisphre’s Rugby Championship.

The window for international fixtures opens the door for the postponed Six Nations fixtures to be played on the weekends of 24 and 31 October – with Ireland’s clashes with Italy and France set to be played on those respective dates.

A rest week for the weekend of 7 November is among the recommendations ahead of a mooted eight-team tournament between the teams in the current Six Nations plus ‘invited teams’. Fiji and either Georgia or Japan are the leading contenders.

In the southern hemisphere, the game’s governing body confirmed that the Rugby Championship will be staged entirely in New Zealand – where the coronavirus threat has been contained – between 7 November and 12 December.

“Special measures will be implemented to deal with any government-required quarantine period prior to the start of the competition,” said the statement.

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The recommendations to temporarily change Regulation 9 until 13 December will be put before World Rugby Council on 30 July, with fixtures to follow if the motion passes next week.

“Seeking to reconcile the interests of the international game, the professional club game and player welfare,” read the statement, “temporary windows have been determined following extensive and productive consultation between World Rugby, international competitions, national unions, their professional club competitions and International Rugby Players.”

The statement added: “All parties remain committed to continued dialogue regarding long-term men’s and women’s calendar reform that harmonises the international and club environments for the betterment of all.”

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Sean Farrell

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