England's tour of Japan OFF as World Rugby cancels entire summer schedule due to coronavirus pandemic

Richard Parry
Evening Standard
Getty Images
Getty Images

England's Test tour of Japan, scheduled for July this year, has been called off due to the coronavirus pandemic with the entirety of the summer's rugby union international schedule postponed.

World Rugby announced on Friday that all fixtures in July would be called off due to Covid-19, meaning England's Tests in Oita (July 4) and Kobe (July 11) have been removed from the schedule.

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“While we are of course disappointed to have our two Test matches against Japan postponed, it’s the correct decision under the current circumstances," said England head coach Eddie Jones.

"I hope all Japanese and English rugby fans are keeping safe and well and we look forward to being back on a rugby pitch and back in Japan in the future.”

The widespread postponements mean Wales' one-Test mission in Japan is also off, as are their two Tests in New Zealand, with Scotland's trip to South Africa and New Zealand, and Ireland's to Australia also removed from the schedule.

In a statement, the Rugby Football Union said all parties were working to try and find a way to fit July's matches into a new-look international calendar for the rest of the year.

England head coach Eddie Jones Photo: REUTERS
England head coach Eddie Jones Photo: REUTERS

"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," it read.

In making the decision, World Rugby said: "The programme of international rugby matches scheduled for the 2020 July window has been postponed due to ongoing government and health agency Covid-19 directives.

"Extended travel and quarantine restrictions that apply to numerous countries, and concerns over adequate player preparation time, mean that any sort of cross-border international rugby competition cannot be hosted in July."

Additional reporting by the Press Association

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