July Tests and more tier-two chances among big World Rugby calendar changes
World Rugby has announced big alterations to its global calendar from 2020 onwards including the June internationals being bumped back by a month.
There will be still be three international windows during the "optimised 2020-32 schedule", but June Tests, where northern hemisphere teams usually travel south of the equator, have been pushed back.
The thinking behind the decision is to allow Super Rugby to run uninterrupted and to ensure optimal preparation for all unions.
As part of the reshuffle, there will also be a 39 per cent increase in fixtures between tier-one and tier-two nations, with tier-one sides to tour the Pacific Islands, Japan, Canada, United States, Georgia and Romania.
World Rugby confirmed that England and France will partake in tours to the Pacific Islands and that Georgia and Romania will host matches against Six Nations teams during the July window.
Brett Gosper speaks about the positive impact the 2020 – 2032 international calendar will have for both tier 1 & tier 2 nations #GlobalGamepic.twitter.com/EJnSRFCsBg
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) March 16, 2017
Speaking about the changes, World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: "Agreement on an optimised global calendar that provides certainty and sustainability over the decade beyond Rugby World Cup 2019 represents an historic milestone for the global game.
"But more than that, this agreement has player welfare and equity at heart, driving certainty and opportunities for emerging rugby powers and laying the foundations for a more compelling and competitive international game, which is great for unions, players and fans.
"This process has been complex and there was no silver bullet. Compromise has been achieved by all stakeholders in the spirit of collaboration and I would like to thank my union and professional league colleagues for their full contribution and commitment to reaching an agreement that will ultimately benefit the whole game."