Test matches over the Christmas period among the ideas to solve scheduling crisis

Test matches over the Christmas period among the ideas to solve scheduling crisis

The Northern Hemisphere's tours South be rescheduled for October as World Rugby, clubs, tournament organisers and unions work together to devise a solution to their fixtures crisis. The bodies held a conference call earlier this week to find a way to play postponed games once the restrictions on travel and public gatherings have eased.

There are suggestions of a home and away leg of the Six Nations as the sport's power-brokers look to find a way of generating revenue. According to RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney, England could be off to Japan in October rather than July.

"The assumption is that the (November) games will go ahead. We’re in regular contact with (the Southern Hemisphere unions) – talking two or three times a week," Sweeney told the BBC.

"What's under threat would be the July tours, because they're sooner, so we're looking at various different ways that we could combine those in some shape or form.

"We might go there in October, possibly. That's one option.

"Nothing's confirmed yet, as you can realise with everything we're dealing with at the moment it’s all discussion – nothing is fully nailed down but one option is we could go down there. They’d rather host, they make more money when they host, then we’d come back up and play our autumn series."

The RFU Executive said that the Southern Hemisphere countries are keen to travel north in November as it stands but if this were to change an expanded Six Nations could be on the cards.

"The south are having the same discussions, if they weren't able to come north and we weren't able to go south they'd want to do something to fill their gap and we'd want to do that too," he said.

"We're looking at various contingencies, but the obvious one is staging a Six Nations in the autumn – link it into a home and away series.

"Nothing's every easy, these are exceptional circumstances. From a geographical point of view, the travel is not so bad. We’re used to playing each other, we know how the logistics work and we could probably put that together relatively easy.

"It's one of many potential fall-backs."

With clubs and unions struggling, there is a sense that World Rugby have an opportunity get buy-in across the game for a season restructure.

"The global calendar, the opportunity to align a global and domestic calendar that works in the best interest of the game is a huge opportunity," Sweeney said.

"From an England perspective, it can’t be right to have overlap of club and country. It creates friction for the fans, not good for players.

"Also, prevailing business models around the game at the moment are not functioning very well. They rely heavily on wealthy benefactors who are passionate about the game and when something like this comes along it exposes the fragility of that.


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