Boks set for a return to action as World Rugby approves new calendar


The world champion Springboks will be back in action when they defend their Rugby Championship title in November and December. Picture: Wessel Oosthuizen/Gallo Images

International rugby is set to resume in October, while the Springboks will turn out in the Rugby Championship in November, after the World Rugby Council approved a temporary 2020 calendar following the disruption caused by the coronavirus, it was announced on Thursday.

The temporary global window will accommodate the completion of the 2020 men’s and women’s Six Nations championships on October 24 and 31, a rest weekend on November 7 and four consecutive rounds of international matches.

The Rugby Championship 2020, involving southern hemisphere nations, will take place over a reduced six-week period between November 7 and the second weekend in December.

Southern hemisphere governing body SANZAAR wants to hold the tournament in New Zealand.

World Rugby said in a statement that approval came after “extensive and productive dialogue” between the sport’s major stakeholders, balancing the interests of the international game, the professional club game and player welfare.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: “Throughout this process, all parties have sought to deliver the best possible outcome to support the interests of international and club rugby and the players.

“Agreement and approval of this schedule is exciting for players and fans and an important step in supporting our unions in mitigating financial impact and optimising the sport’s return from the pandemic in an equitable way.”

A fierce debate has raged over potential schedules, with the English Premiership and French league as well as players’ unions concerned over a possible fixture pile-up.

The sport has been in lockdown since March. The English Premiership is due to resume in mid-August and the knockout stages of the European club competitions in September.

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