Call on July Tests to be made this month: Laporte

Beth Newman Profile
by AFP & Beth Newman

World Rugby will not decide on whether Test matches in July will go ahead before the end of April, French rugby federation chief Bernard Laporte told AFP Thursday.

"For the moment, they'll take a decision end-April on the cancellation of the July tours," Laporte said, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on sporting events.

World Rugby president Bill Beaumont had on Wednesday suggested postponing summer matches to the autumn, but Laporte insisted there was "nothing official".

Countries from the northern hemisphere traditionally travel south in July to play a couple of international matches, while the opposite occurs in November.

Australia is due to play Ireland in Brisbane and Sydney on July 4 and 11 but Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle said earlier in the week that the July Test series against Ireland would be highly unlikely to go ahead, with travel bans and restrictions in place for the foreseeable future.

IRFU chief executive Philip Browne echoed those thoughts this week, as well, admitting he expected a decision to come by the end of the month on the fate of the Tests.

Australia's situation is complicated by the fact that if travel restrictions remain in place, coach Dave Rennie could be among those excluded from entry into Australia.

Rennie is currently still in Scotland and was set to begin his Wallabies tenure officially in July but when exactly he will be able to officially begin his new job on the ground in Australia will depend on when current restrictions are lifted.

Rugby Australia is not believed to have major concerns about Rennie's situation given the fact that if travel restrictions are such that he is not allowed into the country, it would be highly unlikely that any Tests would be going ahead at that time.

France were due to travel to Argentina to play two Tests against Los Pumas, on July 4 in Salta and a week later in La Plata.