The World Rugby executive committee have recommended a revised international window which will take place later this year.
Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Six Nations has seen some games postponed while entire summer tours have been cancelled.
The game’s governing body have been keen to get international rugby back up and running and they have identified a temporary window at the end of the year for Test rugby to resume.
The proposal, which will need to be passed at a World Rugby Council meeting on 30 July, would see international Test rugby take place between October 24th to December 12th.
The final two rounds of the 2020 Six Nations would take place on the final two weekends of October while there will be a rest weekend on November 7th.
Following this weekend, a new competition will take place consisting of the teams who make up the Six Nations and additional invitational teams. These additional teams are expected to be Georgia and Fiji, but Japan have also been mentioned.
Finally, the Rugby Championship which features New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and Argentina, is set to take place in one country, reported to be New Zealand, between November 7th and December 12th.
Here is a breakdown of the competitions to take place within that window:
October 24th & October 31st: The final two rounds of outstanding 2020 Six Nations fixtures.
November 7th: Rest Weekend (Northern Hemisphere)
November 14th to December 5th: New competition involving the Six Nations teams and additional teams to be invited.
November 7th to December 12th: 2020 Rugby Championship
If this can get signed off on July 30th, it will provide welcome relief to all stakeholders who are in need of certainty going forward.
The only potential downside to the proposals is that some clubs in the northern hemisphere could lose their foreign international players for the opening round of the 2020/21 Champions and Challenge Cup.
Clubs who have internationals from the southern hemisphere will have those players unavailable to them for the opening weekend of Champions/Challenge Cup action on 11/12/13 December because the Rugby Championship is also set to finish on that weekend.
From an Irish provincial point of view, this particularly applies to Munster who could miss out on picking Damian De Allende and RG Snyman while Ulster could be without the services of Marcell Coetzee.