July and November Test windows set for reform

World Rugby announced that an agreement has been reached on a set of principles that will pave the way for new competition formats within the July and November international windows.

World Rugby has been facilitating discussions between major unions, international and domestic club competitions, and international rugby players, looking for a solution that optimises player welfare, competition opportunities for emerging nations and financial outcomes.

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Sanzaar, the Six Nations and World Rugby, together with the emerging nations, have all been examining the comparative merits of the current July and November international windows and a combined October/November window.

The detailed evaluation has determined that changing the competition format within these windows is key to increasing interest and value.

With agreement reached on the direction of travel, the groups also agreed on a set of principles to underpin the development of new competition formats within July and November windows:

  • Any new competition format should also aim to improve player welfare when transitioning between club and country environments, optimising travel, rest and training load with further collaborative dialogue planned between international and domestic competitions to address this
  • Any new competition format should increase competitiveness of the global game, offering greater opportunities for emerging nations and develop new commercial revenues
  • Any new competition format would not operate in a men’s Rugby World Cup year and would be modified in a British & Irish Lions year
  • Any new competition would not launch before 2024
  • World Rugby, the Six Nations and international rugby players will continue to explore and refine possible new international competition formats to optimise the July and November windows. This process has underlined the importance of partnership and consultation with the professional club game as key to achieving optimal outcomes for rugby as a whole.

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Photo: Gavin Barker/BBP