SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux says talks over the global calendar have progressed and an agreement could be reached as early as July this year. DYLAN JACK reports.
Negotiations to align the southern- and northern-hemisphere’s club and international windows have been accelerated by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on rugby.
With all club and Test competitions having either been cancelled or postponed to later in the year, national unions have entered into negotiations over what a post-coronavirus calendar could look like.
In a digital media conference held on Monday, Roux said that South Africa – as all nations – was heavily involved with World Rugby on discussions around a reworking of the global calendar.
Roux explained that northern-hemisphere club competitions would be moved to be played either between December to July or February to September. The Rugby Championship could move to the beginning of the year to align with the Six Nations. Vodacom Super Rugby would be played after the Rugby Championship.
Among the ideas proposed was also to move the international window to between October and November, with three northern-hemisphere sides facing the Springboks in South Africa, before the Springboks played three different northern-hemisphere sides in Europe.
‘The pandemic has had the side effect of wiping the slate clean when it comes to Test scheduling,’ said Roux.
‘It has created the necessity of finding solutions for exceptional circumstances in 2020 and reopened questions about what works best from an audience and player welfare perspective.
‘There are some very interesting ideas being discussed and SA Rugby would be keen to see this pandemic have some positive spin-offs in terms of realignment.
‘We are working closely with our Sanzaar partners on what that might look like, but our current position is that we are well placed to head in any direction and open to all ideas. Like our partners, we have ruled nothing out.
‘We have a catch-up meeting next week and it possibly will be decided by 1 July this year already so everyone can start planning.’
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