RFU boss Bill Sweeney has claimed relations between rival Test nations have never been better as they collectively attempt to find solutions to the economically disastrous coronavirus pandemic.
The world’s leading Test nation unions are regularly at loggerheads due to self interests. Look at how World Rugby’s Nations Championship plan was abandoned last year, paving the way for the Six Nations to court investment from CVC Capital Partners. However, a thaw has now set in.
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The recent outbreak of the virus ruined the culmination of the recent 2020 Guinness Six Nations and with the July tour schedule next in the firing line amid the current global shutdown of the sport, the hardship has already led to USA Rugby declaring bankruptcy and Rugby Australia being plunged into financial turmoil.
England still don’t know if their tour to Japan will go ahead as scheduled in July or when their postponed Six Nations match in Italy will be rescheduled. But Sweeney is satisfied that countries usually pursuing self-interested agendas are now looking for collective solutions to a stalemate that has left the sport in limbo.
“The USA frankly were struggling somewhat before the crisis hit anyway,” said the RFU chief executive about the worldwide ramifications so far. “So they were perhaps the most vulnerable of anybody and they are Chapter 11 now.
“I know World Rugby are in conversations with them in terms of how they can sustain the game in that country. Australia have been reported as perhaps being in a weaker position than a lot of others.
“There is an unprecedented amount of dialogue going on between all the unions, World Rugby, the relations between the north and the south probably has never been better.
“We are just looking at various different ways we can structure things that everyone can benefit and find solutions to some of these challenges ahead. It’s in no one’s interest for Australia get into even more serious difficulties.
“We’re in regular dialogue with World Rugby and a lot of the other unions as well around the world, and this is a conversation we have having around the July tours. It’s too early to say as yet (if they will go ahead). We expect to be able to make a decision on that towards the end of the month, the end of April.”
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