International matches will take place later this year after the World Rugby Council approved an amended 2020 calendar.
The adjustment to the regulation has been approved as a temporary measure to mitigate the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on global rugby activities and provides a welcome boost for players, teams, fans, and broadcast and commercial partners.
Approval follows extensive and productive dialogue between the sport’s major stakeholders, balancing the interests of the international game, the professional club game and player welfare to determine a schedule that will optimise the immediate financial recovery and funding of the sport at all levels.
“The global COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented in its impact on society and sport and 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," said World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont.
“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.
“These matches will be greatly anticipated by all, and I would like to thank unions, the international and club competitions and players for their input and the fans for their patience as we have sought to get international rugby back up and running.”
The windows approved by the World Rugby Council for player release are:
- Temporary global player release window for 2020: 24 October – first weekend of December
- Temporary Rugby Championship window for 2020: 7 November – second weekend of December
The temporary global window will accommodate the completion of the 2020 men’s and women’s Six Nations Championships on 24 and 31 October, a rest weekend on 7 November and four consecutive rounds of international matches.
The current Regulation 9 windows will return to normal after the conclusion of the temporary calendar.
All parties, including unions, club competitions and players, remain committed to continued dialogue regarding the long-term harmonisation of the international calendar for the betterment of all.
The rescheduling of the domestic, European and international calendars will accommodate the ability for the professional clubs to have access to their star southern hemisphere international players for the completion of the postponed and rescheduled 2019/20 seasons at a time in which they would have ordinarily been on international duty in August and September.
The process also reflects the ambition to minimise impact on the EPCR and English Premiership finals matches.