World Rugby postpones July Tests indefinitely


World Rugby have postponed all July Test matches until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was announced on Friday.

The decision comes after a World Rugby meeting which determined the impact of COVID-19 on the global calendar.

Due to the global pandemic and border security measures, World Rugby found there would be insufficient player preparation time due to extended travel time and quarantine restrictions. They determined cross-border international rugby could not be hosted in July.

“All parties, including member unions, international competitions, professional club competitions and International Rugby Players, will be involved in the evaluation of potential contingency options with a view to achieving an aligned calendar for the remainder of the year,” World Rugby said via statement.

“All decision-making will be entirely contingent on national Government travel, quarantine and health advice and important player welfare and hosting considerations in line with return-to-rugby guidance recently published by World Rugby.”

The All Blacks were due to play Wales in a two Test series in Auckland and Wellington before facing Scotland in a one-off Test in Dunedin. The Black Ferns were also set to play USA in a one-off Test, billed as a double header in Dunedin.

The Wallabies’ Test series against Ireland in Brisbane and Fiji in Townsville were also postponed, while the Springboks will reschedule their two Tests against Scotland and historic clash with Georgia.

“With so much uncertainty around international travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision was really taken out of our hands,” NZR chief executive Mark Robinson said via statement.

“From a New Zealand point of view, we are taking a pragmatic approach to the international Test programme.

“We are working hard to explore any and every opportunity to play All Blacks Tests as well as Black Ferns Tests this year and watching with keen interest any Government discussions on a possible trans-Tasman bubble with Australia.”

No decision has been made on the Bledisloe Cup series.

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