Published: Sat, March 18, 2017
Sports | By Jaime Goodwin

SA Rugby welcomes new global rugby calendar

SA Rugby welcomes new global rugby calendar

Australia's five Super Rugby franchises have shut up shop over the possibility that at least one of their teams will be culled in a proposed restructuring of the competition.

But uncertainty around the future of Super Rugby - with an Australian franchise rumoured to be on the chopping block - remains as SANZAAR are yet to reveal their decision following last week's strategic meeting in London.

Australia and New Zealand have been granted their wish for the Super Rugby season to proceed uninterrupted, with mid-year Test matches to be pushed back from 2020 as part of changes to the global rugby calendar.

Three Australian teams - Western Force, the Brumbies and the Melbourne Rebels - are believed to be in the firing line.

World Rugby made the decision on Thursday to shift the June global window back a month to July after 2019, allowing the Super Rugby competition to wrap up in June without a month-long break.

Tew, echoing earlier comments from South African counterpart Jurie Roux, said: "This is an excellent outcome for New Zealand with Super Rugby able to run without the disruptive June break, and provides the optimum preparation for the July global window". They will no longer watch their off-field momentum evaporate before their eyes due to a four-week break at the pointy end of the season.

Wallabies playing in mid-year Tests from 2020 will have a full Super Rugby season behind them.

The move is also created to help southern hemisphere countries prepare for their global programme. If they continue to have respective finals in May and tours to the southern hemisphere don't begin until July, will players be given two or three weeks in June off or go into a holding pattern at national camps?

Southern Hemisphere teams have committed to hosting tier-two teams in July, while Georgia and Romania will also entertain Six Nations sides in that window.

Getting to this point has taken more than a year of work. ARU boss Bill Pulver broke his silence on Friday, thanking World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont and deputy Gus Pichot for "driving" the outcome.

"National unions have worked hard to agree this calendar which gives us great long term certainty around our worldwide fixtures".

World Rugby chairperson Bill Beaumont commented: "Agreement on an optimised global calendar that provides certainty and sustainability over the decade beyond Rugby World Cup 2019 represents an historic milestone for the global game".

World Rugby has promised more tests between top and second-tier nations and announced changes to the timing of worldwide windows in a new global calendar to run from 2020 to 2032.

"The entire process was carried out with a strong spirit of collaboration between all nations and like in any agreement, there were compromises that each nation had to make in order to reach an outcome that will benefit the game as a whole".

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