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World Rugby postpones July Test window due to COVID-19

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15th May, 2020
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Australia’s July Tests have been indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic following a decision by World Rugby to suspend all internationals scheduled for the mid-year window.

The only surprise around the news is it has taken this long to be confirmed – with the coronavirus still having a considerable impact in Europe even as Australia and New Zealand begin to ease restrictions, there was little realistic chance of teams being able to go on international tours so soon.

That New Zealand’s domestic Super Rugby competition has been scheduled to run for ten weeks from mid-June was only further confirmation that the first round of southern hemisphere Tests were off the table.

The Wallabies were slated to play two Tests against Ireland, as well as a rare encounter with Fiji at Townsville’s new stadium, but Rugby Australia still intends to host the same fixtures later in 2020.

“The postponement of the July international window was always a reality given the ongoing travel restrictions and health directives across the globe,” interim Rugby AU CEO Rob Clarke said.

“This was an outcome we were anticipating, and we are planning accordingly to host the fixtures later in the year, if possible, and will continue to work with World Rugby to identify a new window within the international calendar to stage the matches.”

With the July Tests cancelled and matches against South Africa and Argentina still a long way off, it leaves the Bledisloe Cup looming as the most likely fixture to usher in the return of international rugby.

Both the Australian and New Zealand federal governments have flagged the possibility of a travel bubble between the two nations, which would pave the way for a Test series between the two rivals.