Eight-team tour­na­ment lined up af­ter global talks reach im­passe

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - Rugby Union By Gavin Mairs chief rugby cor­re­spon­dent

Ja­pan and Fiji are ex­pected to be con­firmed as the two guest na­tions to join the Six Na­tions sides in an in­au­gu­ral eight-team tour­na­ment in Novem­ber and De­cem­ber.

Ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween unions and clubs are con­tin­u­ing this week about the com­ple­tion of the 2020 fix­ture sched­ule and pro­pos­als to re­struc­ture the global cal­en­dar.

The World Rugby coun­cil meet­ing which had been sched­uled for to­day to vote on al­low­ing in­ter­na­tional rugby to be played in Oc­to­ber as well as Novem­ber, has been post­poned un­til mid-July to al­low for talks to con­tinue.

Sources in­di­cated last night that it was “the most likely op­tion” that the new-look tour­na­ment would re­place sched­uled matches against south­ern-hemi­sphere op­po­si­tion, be­cause of Covid-19 travel re­stric­tions, and the de­lay to the start of the south­ern hemi­sphere’s Rugby Cham­pi­onship.

Eng­land had been due to face New Zealand, Ar­gentina, Tonga and Aus­tralia at Twick­en­ham in Novem­ber.

The more con­tentious is­sue sur­rounds the com­ple­tion of this sea­son’s Six Na­tions matches and how that im­pacts on Premier­ship Rugby.

Talks about the global cal­en­dar are even more com­plex, with the clubs in Eng­land and France rais­ing ob­jec­tions to a pro­posal by the World Rugby work­ing group rep­re­sent­ing the Six Na­tions and south­ern hemi­sphere na­tions to move the July win­dow for Test matches to Oc­to­ber to cre­ate a new in­ter­na­tional se­ries.

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