Australia will host the delayed 2020 Rugby Championship, with the southern hemisphere tournament beginning on 7 November.
New Zealand and Argentina will take part in the competition, but South Africa’s place is yet to be confirmed. The All Blacks were front-runners to host but lost out after a recent coronavirus outbreak in Auckland. The teams will play each other twice before the tournament ends on 12 December. The competition, which was due to be played in August and September, was among numerous global sporting events postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. International sporting competition is currently suspended in South Africa because of the pandemic, leaving the defending champions’ participation in doubt. Argentina are set to compete despite five players testing positive for coronavirus on Thursday, adding to six players who discovered they had the virus last week. New Zealand will host two additional Tests against the Wallabies in October, but New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson expressed disappointment over the loss of the Rugby Championship. “We’re obviously disappointed for our fans and all the rugby followers around New Zealand,” he said. “But we ultimately recognise and accept this decision.” The cost of the tournament, which normally takes place across all four countries, will be covered by the four unions and they will share the profits. In June, Rugby Australia announced it would let go of a third of full-time staff to mitigate the financial impact of the coronavirus. At the tournament each side will be allowed a larger squad of 46 players and 12 staff, with biosecure training facilities on offer and a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Australia.