World Rugby will not decide on whether test matches in July will go ahead before the end of April, French Rugby Federation chief Bernard Laporte told AFP Thursday.
“For the moment, they’ll make a decision end-April on the cancellation of the July tours,” Laporte said, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on sporting events.
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World Rugby president Bill Beaumont had on Wednesday suggested postponing July matches to the November, but Laporte insisted there was “nothing official”.
Countries from the northern hemisphere traditionally travel south in July to play a couple of international matches, while the opposite occurs in November.
The postponement of the July test window has potential for significant disruption in the international calendar, with many matches in Europe and North America already locked in for November.
Cancellation of the mid-year internationals would be similarly turbulent, as some southern hemisphere unions brace for a heavy financial loss with the forecast of no domestic competitions or in-bound test matches for the foreseeable future.
Those limitations have led to reports that Rugby Australia could lose up to $120 million in revenue this season after having already announced a $9.4 million loss for 2019 earlier this week.
Likewise, New Zealand Rugby finds itself in a precarious position as it braces for a worst-case scenario of a $130 million loss.
Calling off the Wallabies’ scheduled matches against Ireland and Fiji would have a similar impact, while global travel restrictions could also complicate matters for new head coach Dave Rennie, who is still based in Scotland with his current side, the Glasgow Warriors.
It isn’t just New Zealand and Australia who would feel the pinch of cancelled tours in the middle of the year.
Should the fixtures proceed as planned, it would be the the first-ever time Eddie Jones’ men have faced the Brave Blossoms on Japanese soil.
Elsewhere, France have a two-match series against Argentina locked in for the time being, and Italy were set for a three-match tour of the Americas where they would have played Canada, the USA and Los Pumas.
– With Rugby365
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