A revised edition of the 2020 Rugby Championship has moved a step closer after World Rugby approved a temporary window to accommodate the release of international players.
With Covid-19 restrictions continuing to impact transcontinental travel and entry requirements, on an exceptional basis the 2020 Rugby Championship will take place over a reduced six-week period between 7 November and the second week in December with Sanzaar having asked New Zealand to host.
Special measures will need to be implemented to deal with any government-required isolation period prior to the start of the competition.
The World Rugby Council has approved a temporary adjustment to Regulation 9 to accommodate the release of European and Japan-based players. The current Regulation 9 windows will return to normal after the conclusion of the temporary calendar.
The rescheduling of the domestic, European and international calendars will accommodate the ability for the professional clubs to have access to their star southern-hemisphere international players for the completion of the postponed and rescheduled 2019-20 seasons at a time in which they would have ordinarily been on international duty in August and September.
‘The Covid-19 pandemic has been unprecedented in its impact on society and sport and throughout this process, all parties have sought to deliver the best possible outcome to support the interests of international and club rugby and the players,’ World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said.
‘Agreement and approval of this schedule is exciting for players and fans and an important step in supporting our unions in mitigating financial impact and optimising the sport’s return from the pandemic in an equitable way.
‘These matches will be greatly anticipated by all, and I would like to thank unions, the international and club competitions and players for their input and the fans for their patience as we have sought to get international rugby back up and running.’
Photo: EPA/Jan Touzeau