The pandemic has spared nothing in its wake, and the sports arena with its empty galleries is hitting at the heart of that sportsmanship spirit.
The program of international rugby matches during the 2020 July window has been postponed due to ongoing government and health agency COVID-19 directives, World Rugby has announced on Friday.
Due to the social distancing measures and isolation guidelines, extended travel and quarantine restrictions have been put in place. This has resulted in a halt on any other cross-border international rugby competition.
The full statement reads as such: “The program of international scheduled within the July 2020 window has been postponed due to ongoing government and health agency COVID-19 directives.
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.
Monitoring of the potential impact on the remaining 2020 international windows continues in collaboration with international rugby stakeholders and the respective authorities.
All parties, including member unions, international competitions, professional club competitions, and International Rugby Players, will be involved in the evaluation of potential contingency options with a view to achieving an aligned calendar for the remainder of the year.
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.”
“Any solution will have player health, welfare, and appropriate return-to-play protocols at heart,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby. “It would be inappropriate to comment on potential solutions during a fluid and important consultation process.”
The U20 rugby game has so far declared no window for the next game. The postponed matches include a two-game tour of Japan by England, while Wales were also due to play one game in Japan before two in New Zealand.
Argentina was to host France for a two-game series, and Scotland had two fixtures scheduled against world champions South Africa, plus one versus the All Blacks.
Australia and Ireland were set to play twice, while Fiji also had a rare game against Australia lined up.
Italy was due to face Canada and the United States, while Georgia was set to play against South Africa.