Rugby's July Tests postponed over virus

Friday May 15 2020

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New Zealand's wing Sevu Reece takes part in a training session at Tatsuminomori Seaside Park in Koto, Tokyo prefecture on September 19, 2019, ahead of the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup. PHOTO | ANDERSEN |  AFP 

By AFP

PARIS,

All rugby Test matches scheduled for July have been postponed because of the coronavirus, World Rugby announced on Friday, saying they were impossible given ongoing quarantine and travel restrictions.

The decision comes as a fresh blow to rugby, with unions suffering a slump in revenues since the pandemic brought professional sport worldwide to a halt.

"Extended travel and quarantine restrictions that apply to numerous countries, and concerns over adequate player preparation time, mean that any sort of cross-border international rugby competition cannot be hosted in July," World Rugby said in a statement.

Ireland and Fiji had both been due to visit cash-strapped Australia, New Zealand were to host Wales and Scotland and England were set to visit Japan in what is a key period for the sport. Scotland were also scheduled to visit world champions South Africa.

"All parties, including member unions, international competitions, professional club competitions and international rugby players, will be involved in the continued evaluation of potential contingency options with a view to achieving an aligned calendar for the remainder of the year," World Rugby said.

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"All decision-making will be entirely contingent on national government travel, quarantine and health advice and important player welfare and hosting considerations in line with return-to-rugby guidance recently published by World Rugby."

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