The Springboks look set to have the opportunity to defend their Rugby Championship crown after World Rugby approved the hosting of the competition in full in a single country over a reduced six-week period.
On Wednesday, the World Rugby executive committee recommended a revised temporary 2020 international calendar with the express objective of optimising recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic for the betterment of the global game at all levels.
Recognising the importance of a balanced and shared compromise among all stakeholders, a temporary international window between 24 October and 5 December has been recommended.
With restrictions continuing to impact international travel and borders across southern-hemisphere unions, on an exceptional basis the Rugby Championship 2020 will be hosted in full in a single country over a reduced six-week period 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.
In the north, this window will accommodate the postponed men’s and women’s Six Nations matches at the end of October, a rest weekend on 7 November and a programme of international matches involving the Six Nations and invited teams hosted in Europe from 14 November through to 5 December.
Seeking to reconcile the interests of the international game, the professional club game and player welfare, 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 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 recommendation to temporarily change the Regulation 9 windows will be tabled at a virtual meeting of the World Rugby Council on 30 July. Subject to approval, the full schedule of matches will be announced by the respective union and international competition owners in due course. The current Regulation 9 windows will return to normal after 13 December.
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.