Wallabies' July Test matches postponed

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Australia's July Test matches against Ireland and Fiji have been officially postponed by World Rugby.

All of rugby's July internationals were officially postponed on Friday but the international body did not put a timeline on that postponement.

The Wallabies were scheduled to play two Tests against Ireland and one Test against Fiji starting on July 4 but that will no longer be the case.

Friday's announcement will come as little surprise given the international travel restrictions in place around the world and the fact that the Tests had been described as being "highly unlikely" in recent months.

Rugby AU interim CEO Rob Clarke said the move was expected but they had not given up hope on finding a new window for these matches.

“The postponement of the July international window was always a reality given the ongoing travel restrictions and health directives across the globe," he said.

“This was an outcome we were anticipating, and we are planning accordingly to host the fixtures later in the year, if possible, and will continue to work with World Rugby to identify a new window within the international calendar to stage the matches.”

World Rugby announced the decision on Friday afternoon in a statement.

"Monitoring of the potential impact on the remaining 2020 international windows continues in full collaboration with international rugby stakeholders and the respective authorities," the statement read.

"All parties, including member unions, international competitions, professional club competitions and International Rugby Players, will be involved in the continued 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."

October is believed to be the month targeted for any rescheduled Tests but whether international travel restrictions will be lifted by then is still not clear.

Australia and New Zealand have been open about their hopes of scheduling some Tests in the final months of the year with the possibility of a trans-Tasman travel bubble.

New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson reiterated that hope on Friday.

"We are working hard to explore any and every opportunity to play All Blacks Tests as well as Black Ferns Tests this year and watching with keen interest any Government discussions on a possible trans-Tasman bubble with Australia," he said.

The wallabies and New Zealand are hoping to play each other. Photo: Getty Images"Women's rugby continues to be at the forefront of all our planning. We still have lots of work to do during these uncertain times, but preparation for Rugby World Cup 2021 remains a priority and the Farah Palmer Cup (FPC) is a key part of that.

"We are working hard with Provincial Unions and the New Zealand Rugby Players' Association on the FPC and will have an update on that in due course."

Rugby Australia's general manager of professional rugby services Ben Whitaker said on Monday night that October would be a possibility for postponed matches.

"The discussions remain around whether July is actually possible and we can all sit here and say it's highly unlikely but it still hasn't had a formal decision," he said at the time.

"The next option is to see is if some of those games can be moved to October.

"There's some real strong discussions between SANZAAR, Six Nations and World Rugby to see what that looks like and we obviously had a reasonable schedule up north, which is all being considered."

Friday's announcement came almost simultaneously with the confirmation that Rugby Australia had received a $14.2 million loan as part of World Rugby's COVID-19 relief fund.