World Rugby is edging closer to implementing a revised global calendar that could lead to significant changes in Test rugby.
According to SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux , the new calendar could be signed off as soon as next month.
The biggest stumbling block to the new fixtures list, according to Roux, was the scheduling of next year’s British and Irish Lions tour.
Scheduled to be held in South Africa in July, the tour would have to move to later in the year under the new global scheduling, which might have to happen anyway given the existing restrictions on travel and crowd attendance as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
“That’s the only issue in getting the global calendar across the line and we wouldn’t want to be a hindrance in that. We’d want to assist the rest of the world,” Roux said of the Lions tour.
The other changes were also significant.
The Rugby Championship could be moved to the beginning of the year and could even take place before Super Rugby starts in February, while there was also the possibility of a unique international series involving the northern hemisphere sides during a longer international window over October and November.
“We have been working really hard on a global calendar. Covid is doing what we as administrators haven’t been able to do for about 130 years, and that is getting the world calendar aligned,” Roux said.
“Because there is no script at the moment, it is actually a very easy process to go through. All competitions in the world are on hold. All agreements are either in breach at the moment or are being renegotiated, and very few of us know what that world will look like post-2020.
“The global calendar, which we have shared with our unions, essentially comes down to a move in the northern hemisphere from winter rugby to summer rugby. They’ll either play the club competitions in the north from December to July or from February to September.”