New rugby calendar set for 2020

Rugby bosses worldwide are close to agreeing a new rugby calendar which will align the northern and southern hemisphere season's closer together.

The BCC has exlusively revealed the agreement which they report will take effect after the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

According to the new agreement there will be fewer international Tests with summer tours set to be scrapped for at least one of the four years between World Cups. The new schedule will not affect the Six Nations, which is played between February and March or the World Cup and British and Irish Lions tour.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont and vice-chairman Agustin Pichot have been leading negotiations. The changes are set to be approved at the next council meeting at the end of November.

The Premiership and PRO12 seasons, however, will be adjusted to start later and end at the end of June, with Super Rugby following suit. Under the new proposal there is also a desire to have less of an overlap between internationals and domestic tournaments, something which has caused problems in the past.

The BCC says their sources have indicated that countries like Japan and USA will have more opportunities to play against tier-one teams.

With player welfare said to be central to the discussions, summer tours are likely to be scrapped the season after a Rugby World Cup to enable a longer rest and recovery period for international players.