The match between France and Tonga during the World Cup in Japan, October 6, 2019. - Nicolas Datiche / SIPA

The World Rugby executive committee on Wednesday recommended an exceptional international window of 6 weekends for the fall testing, and announced that the Rugby Championship would be held in a single country over the same period.

This “temporary” international window, of October 24 and December 5, would be broken down into three parts for the nations of the Northern Hemisphere, according to the wishes of the international body: two weekends at the end of October to play the matches of the Tournament of six nations postponed due to the health crisis, a break on the weekend of November 7, then four weeks for meetings between European teams and invited teams (Japan, Fiji, etc.).

On the south side, the Rugby Championship, which is usually played in August and September, will be held from November 7 to December 12 with the usual program, i.e. 6 matches per team, but in a single country to avoid transport problems and risks of contamination linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.

New Zealand approached

According to a letter from World Rugby to the NRL, New Zealand is in a strong temptation to host the competition. South African and Argentinian players playing in Europe should then fly no later than October 18, the day after the European Cup final, in order to respect the strict fortnight imposed by the government before the tournament. In compensation, the Argentinian and South African stars will be present in August and September in Europe, in particular for the postponed final phase of the European Cup, underlines World Rugby.

To lengthen the international window, the "temporary" amendment to Regulation 9 requiring clubs to release selected players three weekends in November will be put to the World Rugby Council for a vote on July 30. Regulation 9 currently in force will be applied again from mid-December, according to World Rugby. Professional clubs, weakened by the interruption of competitions due to the coronavirus pandemic, fear this widening of the international window.


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