London (AFP)

The head doctor of the International Rugby Federation (World Rugby), Eanna Falvey, said Thursday that he would be "very surprised" that the competitions, interrupted by the Covid-19 epidemic, will not resume in 2020.

"I would not rule out (the possibility that rugby will resume before the end of the year). In fact, I would even be very surprised that there are no rugby competitions that resume before the end of the year, "he said in an interview with the Irish Times daily.

This does not mean that it will restart everywhere, he said, however, believing that Australia and New Zealand are best placed to find their way back to the field.

"They are probably close enough to be able to resume competitions, in any case certainly to resume training."

Falvey contradicted certain interpretations of the document released earlier this week by World Rugby on the return to competition, saying that playing behind closed doors until a coronavirus vaccine was discovered was not necessary.

"As soon as we have matches, we will have the public," he said.

"The size of the public will not be decided by World Rugby or by the national federations. It will be decided by the governments and by the limits they will impose on public gatherings," he said.

The medical official of World Rugby also estimated that rugby was wrongly considered a sport at high risk of contamination.

"I was quite disappointed to see that rugby was in the same category as judo or wrestling in Irish guidelines, and not in the same category as football or Gaelic football," said Falvey, who took up his post in January after being in charge of Munster, the Irish team and the British and Irish Lions.

© 2020 AFP