Amid Covid-19 crisis, Australia offers to host a ‘mini’ Rugby World Cup

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Rugby Australia (RA) chairperson Hamish McLennan said the country was open to hosting a “mini Rugby World Cup” during the southern hemisphere winter to keep the international calendar going amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

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With rugby calendars in Europe and South Africa in particular looking “very sketchy” due to the pandemic, McLennan added that Australia has proved it is well-equipped to host sport in a safe environment.

Australia played host to last year’s Rugby Championship which was reduced to a Tri-Nations involving Argentina, Australia and New Zealand after world champions South Africa pulled out due to travel restrictions and the impact of the pandemic.

France are scheduled to tour Australia in July and Rugby Australia is planning on asking other nations if they would play in a tournament that could run in parallel with the Rugby Championship.

At the same time, Ireland are due to visit nearby New Zealand.

The British & Irish Lions are of course due to tour South Africa.

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“We are still expecting the Rugby Championship to go ahead this year but perhaps we can add to it and create a ‘mini World Cup’,” McLennan told the Financial Times.

“We have the French in July but if anyone else wants to come out, great. We have a significant British and Irish population here and South Africans.

“We are open to creating a new tournament and keeping the international calendar going.”

As it stands, the Springboks haven’t played a Test since winning the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan on November 2.

SA Rugby is yet to confirm any warm-up Tests ahead of the British & Irish Lions series which is due to kick off in July.

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